14 October 2010

High Fat and Ecessive Salt in Children's Hosptial meals

Children's hospital meals 'too salty and fatty'

A recent Survey by the Food Standards Authority revealed that half of meals served by NHS hospitals contravene standards for healthy diets for school meals.

A high proportion of children's hospital meals tested poorly for saturated fat and or unecessarily high salt content.

Almost half of meals served in hospital to children have too much fat and contain excessive amounts of salt.

A report by the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) and campaign group aworrying number of child hospital meals to be too unhealthy and unlikely to be served in schools because they exceeded salt and fat limits introduced in 2008.

A third of all 451 meals tested would be classified as “red” for saturated fat or salt, according to the Food Standards Agency’s traffic light labelling scheme, meaning they should be eaten in smaller amounts or infrequently.

Cash wants the government to create nutritional guidelines for hospital food. The Department of Health said it was concerned by the group’s report, which found a chicken tikka masala and rice served in a hospital contained 14 times more salt (2.2g) and 8.5 times more saturated fat (6g) than a chicken and vegetable balti with rice in a school dinner.

Professor Graham McGregor the chairman of Cash, said: “With everything we know about the risk of children developing high blood pressure and diet-related diseases such as obesity, it is vital to keep their consumption of salt and saturated fat as low as possible, while still being appetising.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of good quality food for patients of all ages, both in terms of improving their health and in relation to their overall experience of services.

“Tools are available to support caterers in assessing the nutritional content of meals.”