Nursery food scrutinised
Most day care nurseries in East Sussex have been told to make changes to the way they feed youngsters following a survey.
Nurseries have made alterations to their menus and nutritional policies in the light of the survey.
They all committed to make changes after East Sussex County Council's Trading Standards team found a lack of information for childcare providers on infant nutrition and a lack of knowledge concerning healthy eating for one to four-year-olds.
The survey also revealed a lack of regulation on nutrition for infants and young children and a tendency to apply healthy eating policies designed for school age young people to children aged one to four years — who have entirely different requirements.
Trading Standards is responsible for enforcing food standards legislation in the county including a contribution to the 'healthy eating' agenda.
Using the services of a specialist paediatric dietician and the Public Analyst, a week's worth of meals from 10 nurseries together with their menus were scrutinised and analysed for nutritional content against available guidelines.
The nurseries all volunteered to take part and gave their full co-operation during the survey.
The results showed that only:
• two out of 10 nurseries excelled in their provision of meals.
• two out of 10 nurseries provided the correct portion sizes.
• three out of 10 nurseries provided adequate energy.
• two out of 10 nurseries provided adequate fat.
• two out of 10 nurseries met the guidelines for salt levels.
• three out of 10 nurseries were providing oily fish once a week.
The survey also showed that all nurseries failed to meet the requirement for iron and that three out of 10 nurseries appeared to be providing menus based on adult healthy eating principles.
All the nurseries that took part in the project committed to make changes and have since done so as a result of the findings.
These changes have ranged from altering snacks and switching to more nutritionally suitable products to completely altering main menus and the range of foods on offer.
Trading Standards officers are confident that all the participating nurseries should now know what constitutes good nutrition for the under five age group and are providing nutritionally balanced menus.
Recent statistics published as part of the National Child Measurement Programme reveal that, for the East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust (PCT) at reception class age, of the 83 per cent of all children measured, 14 per cent were overweight and 8.9 per cent were obese.
The English averages are 13 per cent overweight and 9.9 per cent obese (83 cent measured).
As a follow-up to the project, Trading Standards will be sending a copy of this report alongside nutritional guidance to all nurseries across East Sussex inviting them to join in any future project. Any further work with other nurseries will take part once they have received the advice pack and have committed themselves to making any necessary changes.
Copies of the Trading Standards report have also been sent to the Food Standards Agency and OFSTED.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Eastbourne
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South west