Living in such a small Island, with tight employment and housing regulations we are very much reliant on the children of today growing up to become active, healthy and educated adults, able to support the Islands’ community and economy.

Currently in Jersey, for every elderly person who draws a States of Jersey pension, there are four people in employment to support that funding[1], but by 2030, this figure will have decreased to two people in paid employment.  These are the children and young people of today, and most of whom, without intervention, won’t have the skills or knowledge needed to cook for themselves and will be unable to lead active and healthy lifestyles.  In turn they may be unable to support the future economy of Jersey and may very much be themselves dependent on the already stretched Social Security system.

Diet plays a crucial role in healthy development and the prevention of ill health in children, and the food children eat is not only crucial for physical development; it fuels their learning ability and can affect how well they concentrate at school.  In 2009, the States Business Plan set a goal of reducing obesity rates from 30% to below 10% by 2017, yet according to a report issued by the States of Jersey in February 2017[2], 20% of children in Reception are overweight including obese, which rises to 33% of children in Year 6 – these figures have risen within the last 4 years.

In Jersey, we have the highest proportion of mothers who work, in the western world (80% compared to 64% in the UK), a high cost of living, high food prices and despite the relaxed environment of beaches and Island life, a high proportion of people work long and stressful hours, often for minimum wage.  So it’s no surprise when you look at government reports such as the 2017 Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, which offer statistics such as these