In Britain, rates of obesity among children have tripled over the last 20 years.
Seventeen percent of 15 year olds are now clinically obese.
New official statistics on children’s spending show that 7-15 year olds spend a
bigger proportion of their weekly money on food than on any other item. Sweets,
snacks and take-aways account for more than one third of young people’s
spending money each week. This is true for both boys and girls. On average,
children between the ages of 7–15 years spend £2.30 a week on sweets, drinks
and snacks. They spend the same amount again on other food products, including
school meals. Out of a typical budget of £13 a week, children spend nearly £5 on
The statistics on children’s
spending come from an Office
for National Statistics survey
whose results were published in
June 2005. The survey used
information from spending
diaries kept by more than 4,000
children. They recorded all
their expenditure over a two
week period, and were paid £5
for their efforts. Data were
collected over the period 2002
to 2004. The survey found that
girls tend to have more
spending money than boys.
Family Spending Report, Office
for National Statistics, 2005
Vicky Pollard from ‘Little Britain’
– too close to reality?
Faced with growing levels of obesity, health experts emphasize the importance of
a balanced, healthy diet. Conscious of this, the education secretary, Ms Ruth
Kelly, announced a plan in 2005 to end the sale of poor-quality meals and snacks
in schools. From September 2006, if the proposals get put into action, schools
will not be allowed to provide ‘junk food’ for their pupils.