Food-based education should be reformed to help Welsh children combat rising obesity levels, the chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) told National Assembly members this week.
The Welsh Assembly is now consulting on issues surrounding the role of food in the national curriculum and HCC's chairman, Rees Roberts, urged assembly members to support a reform programme, designed to put food at the forefront of the school timetable.
Speaking at a HCC reception at Y Senedd, Roberts said: "Obesity levels in Wales are rising significantly. In a recent publication by Wales Centre For Health, nearly one in five boys in Wales, and more than 16% of girls aged 13, are classified overweight or obese.
"HCC strongly believes that incorporating more food-based education in the national curriculum of Wales would go a long way towards a healthier, better-
informed and more fulfilled younger population."
Part of the red meat body's work is to conduct a comprehensive programme of diet, health, food and nutrition support activities with schools, colleges and health professionals. In the past year, said Roberts, HCC has been actively working alongside NFU Cymru, FUW and other relevant bodies such as the British Nutrition Foundation, Food Standards Agency, DATA, Women's Institutes and others. He added: "HCC believes children must be given the chance to really cook in our schools. Space must be provided within the timetable to accommodate practical food teaching."
HCC formally submitted its detailed proposals to the Welsh Assembly's consultation this week.
In addition to plans to reform the role of food in the curriculum, Roberts told Assembly Members that HCC was working with tourism outlets in Wales to promote the use of local Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef and encourage menu transparency for meat sourcing.
"I am pleased to say that we are close to agreeing a direct marketing deal with significant tourism venues across Wales to emphasise their local sourcing of PGI Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef to their restaurant diners," he said.