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What’s on the Menu at Newtownabbey Nurseries?

23 May 2017

Studies have shown that many nurseries across the UK are not routinely meeting nutrient and food-based guidelines.  At a local level, day nurseries in Newtownabbey have been actively engaged in a process to develop ‘Nutritious Nursery Nosh’, an intervention designed to improve the dietary habits of 1-4 year olds at nursery.  As part of this process, Dr Janice McConnell, public health nutritionist at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, recently delivered the findings from a comprehensive menu analysis to key partners at a seminar at Mossley Mill.

Dr McConnell commented: ‘This study is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.  Using innovative methods and frameworks it has provided a realistic assessment of the food-based quality of local nursery food and a valuable baseline for evaluation.  The applied nature of this study also means that the results will usefully inform the intervention development process, for tailored implementation of improvement strategies across participating nurseries’.

Dr McConnell continued: ‘The commitment of Newtownabbey day nurseries to meet the nutritional needs of young children while at nursery is commendable.  Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council aims to support these nurseries as part of a wider regional agenda on tackling obesity, to improve not just the nutritional quality of the food but also the dietary habits of young children at nursery for long-term health and wellbeing’.

Carla Taggart, Early Years Senior Social Worker with NHSCT commented: ‘Evidence clearly shows that the development of healthy eating habits in the early years can impact on eating habits right into adulthood.  We are therefore delighted to be working in partnership with the expertise at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to improve the dietary habits and nutritional health of this impressionable population now and for the future.’