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Food Dudes stress 3 Rs in a bid to tackle obesity
A SOCIAL enterprise based in Knutsford is leading the national push to drive down obesity among the nation’s youngsters.
Booths Hall-based Food Dudes was created in partnership with Bangor University.
Professor Fergus Lowe, chief executive at Food Dudes, told the Guardian the enterprise had created a healthy eating programme for children, combining leading behavioural science techniques with fun activities.
Food Dudes uses a team of cartoon characters who fight against ‘General Junk’ in a series of videos which sees them coming out on top.
“We moved to Knutsford because we felt it was a central base to develop a UK-wide programme,” Professor Lowe said.
“It’s central so we can communicate with the rest of the UK.
“We also believe in a very good talent base for staff and we’ve grown quite quickly and continue to do so.
“We wanted to recruit high quality staff and we’ve come to the right part of the UK to do that – that’s another reason why we are here.”
Professor Lowe said childhood obesity is set to become a drain on the NHS resources.
According to official statistics which were published in December 2012 more than 30 per cent of all children in the UK are overweight or obese, contributing to many chronic and life-threatening diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The cost to the UK economy of being overweight and obesity was estimated at £15.8 billion per year in 2007, including £4.2 billion in costs to the NHS.
“Parents really love the programme because it’s not someone telling them what to do – it’s kids coming home saying they want to eat broccoli,” said Professor Lowe.
“Once the parents pick themselves up from the floor they love it.
“Childhood obesity not only has a detrimental effect on the health of the nation, it has the potential to become a financial drain on NHS resources.
“At Food Dudes we believe in catching children early and investing in proven methods that help children to like eating fruit and vegetables.
“This will help to improve the health and well-being of children and their families, and sustain a healthy environment.
“The schools in Knutsford should have look at the programme to help their kids.”
The 3 Rs central to the Food Dudes approach:
- Role modelling: Children watch exciting movie adventures featuring the Food Dudes.
- Repeated tasting: They are encouraged to taste fruit and vegetables.
- Rewards: If they taste and eat their fruit and vegetables they earn Food Dudes Rewards.
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