Heart disease (mainly heart attack and stroke) is the leading cause of death in Ireland with 10,000 people dying each year. However, heart disease and stroke have always been viewed as something to be concerned about once we hit middle-age. We now know, however, that the underlying causes of heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight, can begin in early childhood as a result of poor diet and lack of physical activity.
Some startling facts about Irish children’s health:
- One in ten 5-12 year olds is overweight and another one in ten is obese.
- In total about 22% of 5-12 year olds are overweight or obese.
- One-fifth of Irish children’s intake comes from sweets, snacks and biscuits – very high and unhealthy proportion!
- Children on average eat only a half serving vegetables per day – combined with fruit, children need to eat five servings each day.
(Irish National Children’s Food Survey, 2005).
Increasing levels of children being overweight and childhood obesity are conditions which can lead to Type 2 diabetes and to early heart disease. Therefore taking steps to maintain a healthy diet is key to children’s heart health.
Due to the age of the target audience, the Lidl Fit Factor focuses on encouraging a healthy lifestyle for heart health.
The healthy eating lesson plans help children to learn about the importance of eating a balanced and varied diet. This module is taught with the use of interactive games available on this website. Children can play these on PCs or else it can be used on an interactive whiteboard in the classroom.