Pupils want to be healthier, survey says

Published Wednesday, 9th January 2019 Healthy eating

Schools have banned the sale of high sugar and high energy drinks in recent years after pupils told them they wanted to be healthier.

Each year Rotherham Council carries out its Lifestyle Survey where thousands of pupils are consulted on how they live their lives.

Schools then use these results to implement changes based on what pupils have said. In previous years this has included introducing an after school cookery club to encourage pupils to eat more healthily.

The 2018 results show there has been improvements in terms of pupil’s health and lifestyle choices, including reducing the number of high sugar and high energy drinks being consumed.

Feedback from some schools is that they have now banned the sale of such drinks directly because of previous years’ survey results.

The borough wide results are expected to be scrutinised at this months’ Improving Lives board before being shared with the Health and Well Being Board and other partners, to allow them to take action to address any issues.

Cllr Gordon Watson, Rotherham Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young Peoples’ Services said: “We are committed to ensuring every child has the best start in life, which is why surveys like this are important for us to be able to hear and act on what our younger residents tell us is important to them. The annual results from this survey show that direct action is being taken by schools and other settings to help address issues that arise.

“Having the voice of the child represented in this way really helps us to understand what issues are affecting our young people and therefore helps us as a council and as a partnership to address any concerns, should they arise.”

Three quarters of Rotherham’s secondary schools took part in last year’s survey, which was given to pupils in both Years 7 and 10.

The annual survey is the only opportunity regularly given to young people in Rotherham to have their say about their health, well-being, their future and their thoughts about Rotherham and their local community.

Highlights from this year shows a decline in the number of pupils diagnosed with a medical condition; more pupils are drinking the recommended 6-10 glasses of water a day; there has been an increase in the percentage of pupils who said they do not drink regular sugar fizzy drinks and there has been an overall improvement in terms of pupils having a school meal.

The number of pupils aspiring to go to university has also increased; there has been a marked improvement in pupils rating their mental health positively and that the fear of visiting the town centre due to protests and marches has now significantly reduced from previous similar survey results.

However, there has been an increase in the number of pupils diagnosed with both autism and asthma; fewer pupils report eating the recommended portions of fruit and vegetables each day and more pupils are worried about their weight, among other things.

Emerging themes from the survey will be shared with key stakeholders for these to be actioned as part of their service and business plans in the year ahead. There will be specific reports for each stakeholder to highlight areas where there are any worries and this will include relevant trend data for their service area.

Schools which participated will also be required to provide feedback to share how they used the results specifically for their own school.

To see the final report please visit: https://bit.ly/2Rkc0je