Childhood obesity – can design help? by Sirastudio, Professional Photographers and Video Production in Harrogate

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Childhood obesity – can design help? by Sirastudio, Professional Photographers and Video Production in Harrogate

Designers call for Early Years Educators to put healthy food preparation back on the curriculum

In the UK, children’s issues with food – whether they are over-eating or under-eating – are hot topics. Obesity levels in children are alarmingly high across the nation and although the reasons are complex, Yorkshire design company KanGarRoo believes that the time has come for pre-school and primary school educators to take a greater role in educating young children in healthy food preparation and social eating activities.

Working with schools, industry bodies and children across the UK, the company has developed a range of curriculum-rich workstations that are designed to help teachers put the fun, practicality and sense of achievement back into healthy food preparation – with the ultimate aim of encouraging children to lead healthier lifestyles. It is now looking for help to evaluate the products in pre-school and primary schools.

Food – what’s gone wrong?

Steve Hoffman, KanGarRoo Director, says, “Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last thirty years1.During this time, the way we shop and our capacity to prepare healthy meals and snacks every day have changed dramatically. A quarter of all Brits2 now manage only two properly cooked meals a week, and less and less of these are in social circumstances. For many of us, balancing work with busy lives has meant that the enjoyment has gone out of shopping, preparing and cooking food with balanced nutrition. Somewhere along the line, our culinary skills have faded. It’s no-one’s fault. It’s just the way life is these days. For convenience, a lot of us are grazing on fast food – and adults and children are gaining weight, or not eating healthily enough, and this has a knock-on effect. Twenty-five percent of boys and thirty-three percent of girls between two and nineteen years are now overweight or obese3. One of the major problems is that in many homes, because of our lifestyles, children are not learning basic healthy food preparation or social eating skills. As designers, we believe we have a role in helping to address this.”

A food preparation solution to reverse the trend

It’s never been more important for our children to recognise the numerous benefits of eating freshly prepared food with friends and family. The most valuable behavioural learning is taught in children’s formative years. Looking at the wider picture, we now believe that pre-school and primary school educators need to fill in the gaps that are now prevalent in UK households. Pre-empting the need for functional, versatile, healthy food preparation workstations that meet all the necessary EN Standards, we have developed a range of modular furniture specifically for use in primary and pre-school environments. We hope they will revolutionise the educational environment by engaging and inspiring children and by aiding teachers to help improve children’s eating habits and their understanding of nutrition.”

A helping hand

KanGarRoo has taken inspiration from its experience in designing educational furniture, from the way children behave with each other, with shape, form, colour and with tactile objects, from educational models used in preschool environments and from ergonomically designed office furniture. The company is now looking for nutrition and healthcare education and pre-school and primary educators to help evaluate the workstations before they are manufactured. If you would like to be involved in this worthwhile project, please contact info@kangarroo.co.uk.

 

Read more about this story on the KanGarRoo blog and website: http://blog.kangarroo.co.uk/

 

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm
  2. Beneden Healthcare Survey, April 2012
  3. http://www.weightlossresources Media Contact: Rachael Meyer, SiRAstudio Ltd. Tel: 01423 522363. Email: rachael@sirastudio.com