One third of pupils think cheese comes from plants

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CHEESE comes from plants and fish fingers are made of chicken, according to a significant number of children questioned on their knowledge of where food comes from.

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) included more than 27,500 children in the research and found that nearly a third (29 per cent) of primary school children think that cheese comes from plants, and nearly one in five (18 per cent) primary school children said that fish fingers comes from chicken.

The survey also found that one in ten secondary school children believe that tomatoes grow under the ground.

The largest of its kind, the study was conducted as part of the BNF’s Healthy Eating Week, which is launched today by the Princess Royal.

More than 3,000 schools are participating in the week-long event, during which over 1.2 million children will learn about healthy eating, cooking and where food come from.

Roy Ballam, education programme manager at the BNF, said there was an understanding in schools of how important it was to encourage healthy eating.

“Schools throughout the UK require a national framework and guidance for food and nutrition education to support the learning needs of children and young people, especially at a time when levels of childhood obesity are soaring.

“Through Healthy Eating Week, we hope to start the process of re-engaging children with the origins of food, nutrition and cooking, so that they grow up with a fuller understanding of how food reaches them and what a healthy diet consists of.”

The research also shows that a significant number of children do not eat breakfast, which increases with the age of the child.

On the day of the survey, 8 per cent of primary school children said they had not eaten breakfast that morning, and this increased to 24 per cent in 11- to 14-year-olds, and to 32 per cent in those aged 14 to 16.