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Hospital food for children criticised


Hospitalised children are being fed unhealthy foods that would be banned in schools, research has claimed.

Campaigners have urged the government to remove a child nutrition loophole and ensure NHS standards are the same as in schools.

Almost half of the meals given to children in hospitals are too unhealthy for schools, with 85 out of the 189 surveyed by the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) deemed too unhealthy for school menus.

They all exceeded the maximum school food limits for saturated fat or salt, according to the report.

Almost one in three of all items on a menu (132 of 451 surveyed) would also be classified as ‘red’ for saturated fat or salt according to the traffic light labelling scheme, the report said.

A chicken tikka masala and rice served in one hospital contained 14 times more salt and 8.5 times more saturated fat than a chicken and vegetable balti with rice served in a school.

In another example, a lasagne contained almost six times more salt than those served in schools.

Professor Graham MacGregor, of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, said: “With everything we know about the risk of children developing high blood pressure and diet-related diseases such as obesity, it is vital to keep their consumption of salt and saturated fat as low as possible, whilst still being appetising.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • A few years ago we managed to get most of the high fat chips and twizzlers removed from our menu - although it was in the teeth of opposition from catering and the paed dietitian! Never able to find out what sort of salt content there was....
    On the whole the food is now not great - but about as good as it can be for the tiny cost permitted.

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  • A low budget doesn't equate to poor quality food. The commitment just isn't there. Dietician's who I was told yesterday are paid a lot more than nurses just aren't up to scratch. It's mainly commonsense, not rocket science to put together healthy, appealing meals for children. Junk food is just an easy opt out.

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  • Dieticians get paid more than nurses!? That in itself is a scandal.

    But it's got to be said that hospital food is on the whole appalling....and i say that from recent experience.

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  • Dieticians are very invisible in hospital. How can they get paid more - are they not on Agenda for Poor Pay - sorry , I mean Change?

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  • I'm now working on a ward where food comes to the ward and we serve it up. I constantly feel that i should apologise for the poor quality; it looks horrible and, mostly it is horrible. The veg is waterlogged and tepid and items such as fish fingers or chicken bites, that children may like, are overcooked and dry. The only item that is half edible are the chips or the baked potatoes. I even remember school meals being better than this. Parent's plump for chips because they just want their children to eat something, as a sign they are getting better. Surely, as we all know, good nutrition is part of the healing process and, even on low budgets, healthy, nutritious, and attractive looking food should be provided.

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  • Thadd Evans

    .35 amino acids to 100 grams protein ,a , k , c, d, e, vitamins are absorbed by lipids = nut's, meat's, seed's, absorbed by unheated leafy green's -vitamin B's...//3 grams of fat are a daily need -

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