Northern Ireland news

Half of parents say their children are eating more treats during the Covid-19 pandemic

The study reveals parents are struggling to stop their kids from eating treat foods such as chocolate, crisps, biscuits and sweets

ALMOST half of parents in Northern Ireland say their children are eating more treats since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The study reveals parents are struggling to stop their kids from eating treat foods such as chocolate, crisps, biscuits and sweets. Around 53 per cent of parents also say they struggle to even keep the amount of treats their children eat to a minimum.

The research also found around 22 per cent of parents say treat-eating is the behaviour they most want to improve upon.

The findings are part of the START campaign by safefood, the Department of Health and the Public Health Agency (PHA), to encourage families to re-start healthy habits as Covid restrictions gradually begin to lift.

It is encouraging parents to say no when a child asks for a treat in order to set their children back on the road to healthier habits.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride: "Treats can be fun for children and a short-term distraction, however, if they are given on a daily basis they are no longer 'treats' they are part of the child’s diet and can then contribute to long term health risks.

"Risk factors for diseases can begin to develop in early life.

"Regular physical activity and a healthy diet make it more likely that children will remain healthy as adults.

"Engaging children early in the benefits of healthy eating and involving whole families in exercise is key to tackling the problems caused by obesity and inactivity."

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Northern Ireland news