As almost 1/4th of children are obese or overweight by the time they begin with school, the government-commissioned Advisory Panel on Food and Nutrition in Early Years has advised childcare providers and parents what under-5year children should eat and drink while in childcare. This advisory panel is made up of nutritionists, policy advisers and national organizations representing children's centers, child minders and nurseries. Research by the panel has revealed that some providers are giving young children food which is more appropriate for older children and adults, while children are not getting sufficient carbohydrates and essential minerals like iron and zinc and are consuming too much of salt and sugar.
Teaching children to lay the table, use knives and forks and behave well could stop them from becoming obese. Head of the advisory panel and pediatrician, Dr. Anthony Williams said, "The message from childcare providers is clear. They want to feed children well and know that it's vital to start healthy eating habits early, but at the moment they have no clear advice on how to achieve this in practice. In this report we show how providers could be more certain that they're meeting their children's nutritional needs. It would save staff time on researching and developing menus, and would help parents know what to look for if they want to be sure their children are well-fed in childcare."