Real Food Rebellion (RFR) is a schools-based project focused on improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents and their future life chances. The project aims to plant seeds of change that will grow and transform the lives of children and their parents and future generations to come; knowledge is power and we will provide the key that unlocks and clarifies the perplexing food environment we live in. This in turn will lead to improved health outcomes long term and lessen the future burden on the NHS.

We aim to do this through educating children, teachers and parents about the benefits of real food and the dangers of ultra-processed food (UPF) that so many of our children consume. Our vision is that children and young people in many schools across the country will become increasingly aware of the dangers to health from ultra-processed food, sugars and refined carbohydrates and choose to limit UPF in favour of more real, unprocessed food and drink, becoming advocates for this lifestyle with their peers locally and beyond.

Programmes of learning activities for school students in primary and secondary schools have been designed by teachers and health professionals for schools to help address the increasing problem of childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, eating disorders and mental health. Using teaching approaches appropriate for children’s ages and abilities, and a combination of traditional and digital learning resources, they will learn about a range of healthy food topics.

Secondary pupils will learn about:


● the proper human diet, real food, nutrients, nature and the environment, food processing and sugars
● how the body works: impact of UPF on metabolic health and fitness and the pathology of metabolic disease
● the psychology and physiology of eating: hunger, habits and tastes, disordered eating and how food affects mental health, importance of active lifestyle
● becoming food inspectors: food labelling and personal responsibility for getting the food we want and need
● choosing a healthier lifestyle for themselves and the planet and how to become resilient in the face of food and nutrition giants.

Primary pupils will learn about:

● why we need to eat
● which foods work well with our bodies and where they come from
● what a slow release carbohydrate food is
● protein as a body building food
● why our bodies need healthy fats
● foods for body protection
● becoming a real food detective.

An important part of the programme will be the involvement and education of parents/carers and families so that they can support children involved and gain knowledge that benefits the whole family in improving health outcomes.

We will also be looking to ensure the understanding and commitment of teaching and support staff in the schools involved by providing a Health and Well-being CPD Session and an 8 week online follow up course. In addition, we would aim to work with local food providers willing to support the programme with fresh food ingredients to enhance accessibility to the programme recipes.

The impact on young people’s health and well-being of the local pre-pilot programme, involving one secondary and one primary school in 2024, will be evaluated using a range of qualitative and quantitative data. A wider range of schools will be engaged in 2025 for a more comprehensive pilot, which will provide the basis for the hard copy and digital media learning resources which can then be widely marketed both nationally and internationally.

TEAM

Chris Hill

Dr Ian Lake

Mel Martin

David Sogan

Mel Horne

Tim Newton

Keris Marsden

Dr Sue Beckers