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Whitehouse Primary School Tackles Childhood Dietary Habits

08 January 2016

Back Row (L-R): Mrs Rachel Watson (Year 7 teacher), Mr Frazer Bailie (Headmaster of Whitehouse Primary School), Dr Janice McConnell (Public Health Nutritionist for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council), Miss Claire McIntosh (Year 3 teacher).  Front Row (L-R): Jack Crothers (Key Stage 1 pupil), Evie Sloan (Key Stage 2 pupil).


Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s public health nutritionist, Dr Janice McConnell, met with children at Key Stages 1 and 2 from Whitehouse Primary School to deliver a nutrition and healthy eating session as part of their annual health and wellbeing week.  The core messages of the event centred on reducing ‘free sugar’ intake and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

Following the event, Dr McConnell outlined the importance of public health nutrition activity within the borough, saying: “Recent studies show that on average less than one tenth of children are consuming the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, while current intakes of free sugars are at least three times the new recommendation.  Tackling these habits in childhood through education and behaviour design can play a pivotal role in the prevention of a range of chronic diseases in adulthood, as well as optimising overall health and wellbeing”.

The promotion of public health nutrition has been an integral part of Whitehouse Primary School’s annual health and wellbeing event since its inception in 2014.  Other key contributions include oral health, physical activity, emotional intelligence and aspirational thinking.

Mr Frazer Bailie, headmaster of Whitehouse Primary School commented “We are very excited by our ‘New Year, New You’ week’.  The focus on good eating habits is an area of particular importance.  Not only does it help to address the public concerns over obesity but it helps our pupils learn more effectively by improving their concentration.  Our hope is that this week is a perfect start to 2016 for our pupils and our community.”