Results of a recent survey of more than 27,500 5- to 16-year-olds in the U.K., released to coincide with the British Nutrition Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week, has revealed some major shortfalls in children’s basic food and nutrition knowledge.

Findings show that almost one-third of U.K. primary-school students think cheese is made from plants; almost one-fifth think fish sticks come from chickens or pigs. Other somewhat disturbing stats gleaned from the survey:

  • Almost 1 in 10 secondary-school students believe tomatoes grow underground.
  • One-third of 5- to 8-year-olds think pasta and bread are made from meat.
  • About 19% of 5- to 8-year-olds are unaware that potatoes grow underground;
    10% believe they grow on bushes or trees.
  • While 77% of primary-school kids and almost 9 in 10 secondary students
    know they should consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day, 67% and 81%, respectively, report consuming four or fewer each day. Many do not know that frozen and canned fruits and veggies count toward this goal.
  • An alarming number of children say they do not eat breakfast daily. The percentage of non-breakfast-eaters increases in direct proportion to the kids’ ages. Five percent of primary-school children, 19% of 11- to 14-year-olds and about 25% of 14- to 16-year-olds report not eating breakfast every day.

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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