March 3rd, 2022, Dublin: Ahead of World Obesity Day, which takes place on Friday, March 4th, new research commissioned by Laya Super Troopers, Ireland’s largest health homework programme, which is endorsed by Healthy Ireland, found that nearly one in 10 children are eating fast-food takeaways more than once a week. During COVID-19, 45% of parents surveyed said that they consumed more fast-food takeaways as a family. (1)
The research also found that high-fat salt and sugar foods were also being consumed regularly by Irish children with 63% of children eating chocolate more than once per week and just under half of children (48%) eating crisps more than once per week.(1)
Over half of parents surveyed believe their child is not educated enough on nutrition and 32% said they would like to teach their children to cook but don't know where to start. Four in five children aged 9-12 (80%) can make a sandwich, but only one in three (33%) can cook an egg.
The national research was carried out as part of laya healthcare’s Laya Super Troopers TV, a free 28-part TV series, which aims to provide families and children with fun activities and advice on how to promote a healthier lifestyle for all the family. The series features standalone episodes and is available on demand enabling families to watch their favourite episodes at any time.
Within Laya Super Troopers TV, parents can find healthy recipes and nutrition tips to help support them in creating healthier nutrition habits for their kids and all the family.
Di Di Zwarte, registered dietician, who took part in Laya Super Troopers TV said: “It is not always easy for parents to pick the most nutritious foods with busy lives and the amount of unhealthy foods available around us. Healthy habits are formed when children are young – this also applies to nutrition. Food needs to be introduced in a way that appeals to children and that can be easily integrated into the family routine.
“The research highlights that almost nine in 10 (89%) parents of children in this age group, agreed that teaching your children to cook is a great way to bond with them. Unfortunately, this same percentage also shows that children are drinking fizzy drinks, fruit juices and flavoured waters weekly or more than once a week, and nearly half of these children are drinking them daily. (1) This shows the need for educating our families and children on nutrition and what they should and shouldn’t be drinking and eating. The Laya Super Troopers TV series is meeting this need and is an excellent resource that contains easy to follow recipes and healthy nutrition tips for families to help support them start their healthy habits.”
The research also revealed that almost half (47%) of parents of children aged 9 to 12 years old believe that having access to too many unhealthy food options is a barrier to maintaining a balanced diet for their child.1 When asked about their child’s diet and the impact COVID-19 had, almost a quarter (23%) of parents of children in this age bracket, believe COVID-19 negatively affected their child’s diet, with two-thirds of children, whose parents took part in the research, reportedly snacking more during lockdowns.1
According to Sinéad Proos, Head of Health and Wellbeing at laya healthcare, the research results show how parents and families are in need of support to promote and maintain a healthy family lifestyle. “We are now post-pandemic and it is an opportune time for parents to take stock of their family’s diet and nutrition habits and see where simple changes can be made. Our research findings highlight the importance of teaching our children during their early formative years about the importance of good nutrition choices and habits they can then carry into their adult years. What we have tried to do through Laya Super Troopers TV is meet this need head on by sharing simple and engaging ways for children and families to build healthy habits into their lives, including fun tips and hacks when it comes to making healthy eating easy and interesting. We encourage all families to tune in.”
Families across the country can get involved and find healthy recipes by going to layasupertroopers.ie, where they can also access the free Laya Super Troopers TV series or to register their schools.
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Notes to editors
A healthy recipe from Laya Super Troopers TV easy for all the family to make:
1. Cut up some of your favourite vegetables for example peppers, courgettes, carrots, etc.
2. Add the vegetables to a microwaveable bowl and cover with cling film. Heat in the microwave for two minutes.
3. In a large bowl beat six eggs together. Once beaten add in the microwaved vegetables. You can also add in some cheese.
4. When it’s all mixed together pour into a muffin tin with six holes. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 – 20 minutes. Enjoy!
Research was conducted through an online survey across a nationally representative sample of 400 adults aged 18+ with dependent children aged 9 to 12 years old. Quotas were placed on gender, age, social class and region with weighting applied to ensure final data was representative of these quotas. The research shows that there was over 260,000 children in this age bracket in Ireland.
Fieldwork was conducted from August 21st-29th, 2021 inclusive. The sample size of 400 results in a margin of error of +/- 5.2%.
About laya healthcare
Laya healthcare members can avail of some of the most innovative health insurance benefits and services in the Irish health insurance market along with life insurance (layalife.ie) and travel insurance (layatravelinsurance.ie). Its brand promise, Looking After You Always, represents laya healthcare’s member-centric approach, which is fundamental to its vision and values.
Laya healthcare is proudly part of AIG, one of the leading global insurance organisations in the world. Building on 100 years of experience AIG now serves customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. With their experienced team and innovative insurance solutions, along with AIG’s financial backing, global expertise and long-term commitment to Ireland, laya healthcare expect to go from strength to strength, widening their offering and bringing value and innovation to Ireland’s insurance market. Health Insurance provided by Elips Insurance Limited (Inc. Liechtenstein) trading as Laya Healthcare. Laya Healthcare Limited, trading as Laya Healthcare and Laya Life, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Life Insurance provided by IptiQ Life S.A. (Inc. Luxembourg). Travel insurance is provided by AIG Europe S.A. (Ireland Branch).
 Research undertaken by Empathy Research on behalf of laya healthcare, online survey of 400 adults aged 18+ with children aged between 9 – 12; August 2021.