Dr Rachel Povey blogs on encouraging children to make healthy choices

Dr Rachel Povey (Associate Professor in Health Psychology & Co-director of Staffordshire University’s Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology) blogs about her recent research on encouraging healthy eating amongst schoolchildren and public engagement:

Last November I was invited to give an assembly at a primary school in Stockport, in order to promote their “healthy eating” week.  I hadn’t given an assembly before, and was apprehensive, but excited about speaking to 420 primary school children.

I produced a few colourful slides about making healthy eating choices, and together with Lisa Cowap, we launched our assembly. The fun part was luring the head teacher with an iced doughnut, and asking a number of children to come out and try and persuade her to eat an apple instead.

At the end of the assembly Lisa and I launched a competition where we asked children to design a poster advert to persuade people to eat fruit and vegetables. The competition was designed in collaboration with a local book shop (@simplybooksNo1) who donated vouchers to spend in their shop for the prizes. The competition inspired children to produce lots of brilliant artwork, with some also using excellent motivational messages.  A panel of independent judges rated the work, and a winner and two runners up were chosen. The winners were announced in an assembly in January, and all three winning entries are now on show in Simply Books café (see below). The experience was a rewarding one, and if it encourages even a few children to think about making healthy choices, it was worth it.


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Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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