Knowledge for better food systems

Anti-obesity programmes in primary schools 'don't work'

A trial of a school anti-obesity programme in the West Midlands, UK, showed no improvements in body mass index, energy expenditure, body fat measurements or activity levels.

The study set up a control where 26 primary schools ran the anti-obesity programme and 28 did not. Pupils in the programme were offered healthy eating and cooking education, the opportunity to do 30 minutes of extra exercise each day and the highlighting of local family physical activities. Follow-ups were done at 15 months and 30 months after the programme started, showing no statistically significant differences between participants and non-participants.

Read more here. See also the Foodsource chapter What can be done to shift eating patterns in healthier, more sustainable directions?

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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