Cheese grows on trees, according to a third of British 11-year-olds

Grae Stafford Freelance Photographer
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A 2013 study of 27,500 children has revealed a shocking level of ignorance about food amongst children. According to the survey, a third of British school children think that cheese comes from plants, 20 percent think that chicken is the primary ingredient in fish sticks (known as fish fingers in the UK) and one in ten British high schoolers think that tomatoes are grown under ground.

More concerning than just not being aware of the origins of the food they eat, is their level of ignorance when it comes to what they eat. Nine out of ten believe they know what is good for them, but when questioned one in five believe that things like tomato ketchup and carrot cake count as one of the recommended five pieces of fruit or vegetables they should be eating per day.

Much the same way as the United States, the distorted ideas regarding food have led to a spiraling in obesity levels in Britain. The National Child Measurement Program says that 13 percent of children aged four to five are classified as overweight and 9.3 percent are classified as obese.The numbers are even worse between the ages of ten and eleven with 14.4 percent of children being classified as overweight and 18.9 percent being classified as obese.

Tesco is set to spend fifteen million pounds (nearly twenty four million dollars) on a “Farm to Fork” program called “Eat Happy” that will give one million elementary school children the chance to visit farms and see where their food comes from. Tesco’s managing director Chris Bush, speaking to Britain’s Mirror newspaper, describes the campaign as “a contribution, not a magic bullet”.

“I am also realistic that some people will challenge us to have a more abrupt, immediate impact by stopping selling unhealthy alternatives which children find appealing… I don’t think that is a lasting solution. We will create the healthy habits of a lifetime by making the carrot more appealing not relying on the stick.”

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Grae Stafford