Parents are increasingly making healthier choices for their children, giving them water at mealtimes, smaller portions and fewer fizzy drinks.
Research by Safefood found that last year the consumption of water at mealtimes went up by 7% to 38%. In 2013, around 45% of children drank a fizzy drink once a day or more, but last year this dropped to 40%. Last year 16% of parents said they served “age appropriate” portion sizes compared with 12% in 2013.
The findings also showed that 65% of children are getting at least one hour’s exercise each day, compared with 59% in 2013.
Some 33% of parents were giving their child a treat food at least once a day in 2013, but this fell to 24% last year.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said: “It’s really heartening to see that families are paying closer attention to their children’s diet and physical activity. It looks like families are increasingly conscious of how even small changes can make a big difference.”
Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, director of human health and nutrition at Safefood, added: “While it’s really encouraging and heartening to see that parents report making these practical changes, it’s much too early to say that we’ve won the battle against childhood obesity. It’s not easy to cut down on sugary foods when children have become used to over-indulging, but parents are making really important changes.”