An all-party independent forum for the exchange of views and information on food policy in the UK Parliament.
The report makes the following 19 recommendations:
- The Government – principally the Department of Health, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Ministry of Justice, working with the FSA and the Medical Research Council – commission and support further research in the areas highlighted in this report.
- The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) should be asked to define further the optimum intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in different stages of life, especially for pregnant women and children.
- The FSA should reconsider its advice to pregnant women about fish consumption, with a view to encouraging them to eat two portions of oily fish, or the equivalent in omega-3 PUFAs, a week.
- The FSA continues to monitor closely levels of mercury, dioxin and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) in the different species of oily fish available in the UK.
- The Royal Medical Colleges and the GMC consider upgrading the role of nutrition in the medical curriculum.
- Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) should increase the number of posts for dietitians working in the community and that GP practices should be fully reimbursed if they employ a dietitian to whom patients can be referred for nutritional advice.
- The Government should take further action to raise public awareness of the significance of good nutrition in pregnancy and to tackle the incidence of low birth-weight in the UK.
- More research to test the effect of selected essential fatty acids on the cognitive skills, mood and behaviour of both “healthy” children (that is, children suffering from no known disorders), as well as children suffering from a range of behavioural disorders should be undertaken.
- Regulations should be introduced to prohibit all artificial colours and on-essential preservatives in food products and soft drinks.
- The Government should include financial support to School Breakfast Clubs as part of the package set up to improve school meals. We strongly recommend that all children entitled to free school lunches should be entitled also to a free school breakfast whose content, like school lunches, should be subject to quantified nutritional standards.
- The Department of Health encourages NHS Trusts to adopt an approach similar to that pursued by the Doncaster and South Humber Healthcare NHS Trust which undertakes a nutritional assessment of patients suffering from depression and patients with early symptoms of psychosis and provides dietary advice to them.
- Consideration of the outcome of the next trial of nutritional supplements in Young Offender Institutes should be a priority for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) given that our prisons are overcrowded and there is continuing concern about the mental health of prisoners, particularly young offenders at risk of self-harm and suicide.
- Aany dietary intervention that can be used to improve the behaviour and mental well-being of offenders held in custody should be given serious consideration by the NOMS.
- NOMS should look positively at the case for introducing nutrient-based standards for meals in prisons, similar to those introduced for schools, but based on recommended daily intakes for adults.
- Effective measures should be taken in all prisons to inform prisoners about the benefits of a good diet and to enable them to make healthy choices both while they are in custody and after their release.
- In all women’s prisons national nutritional standards should be introduced to ensure that the basic dietary needs of pregnant women prisoners are achieved.
- More research is urgently needed in the area of nutrition and behaviour because of the major potential benefit for the fields of education, crime, health and the well-being of vulnerable sections of society and we recommend that the Government devotes more resources to this, especially in corrective institutions and care homes.
- Department of Health messages on a healthy diet should emphasise the importance of a balanced diet for optimum mental as well as physical health.
- While research continues to identify and produce alternative sources of omega-3 PUFAs, the report recommends that all people in the UK should be encouraged to eat more fish, some of which should be oily fish, or its equivalent in omega-3 PUFAs.
Thanks again Kieran at Fade, getting towards a crate now!
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