New campaign highlights how childhood food can shape health for life

The story of a boy called Sam will warn of how the diet of today’s toddler could cripple the health of tomorrow’s adults – in our new campaign with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

In a thought-provoking animation, we look at how Sam eats from the age of two to 62 – showing how the eating habits he learns in childhood chip away at his health through his life.

From a daily bag of crisps and a dislike of ‘plain’ water, to the expectation of a sweet pudding after every meal and the idea that if you exercise enough it doesn’t matter what you eat, Sam’s story echoes that of many children across the UK.

Our CEO, Linda Cregan, says: “What’s clear from our research is that parents don’t want to pass on to their children the health impact of poor diet that we’re experiencing now.

“That means policy-making for the long term and solutions which go beyond party politics and the leaders of the moment: if we can get children eating better now, they’ll be healthier adults by the time they’re thirty, forty and beyond. But if we don’t act, we’re condemning another generation to a future in which their health is literally being eaten away.”

Professor Mary Fewtrell of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says: “Obesity is the biggest public health crisis facing the UK today – Sam’s story shows how easy it is to get into bad habits early. It also shows how the environment in which our children grow up affects their food choices. From junk food advertising online and during popular family TV shows, to high fat, sugar and salt food being cheaper than healthier alternatives, we have to change the environment to help parents and children. The healthy choice should be the easy choice.”

At a launch event in parliament, we called on policymakers, health professionals, educators and industry to ‘Take Sam with you’ in making decisions about children’s food. Linda adds: “Unless we start putting children’s health first, Sam’s story could be every child’s story.”

See our key facts on childhood obesity.

Changes we’d like to see.

What our CEO has to say.