Cooking lessons will be made compulsory for English teenagers from
the start of the next academic year as part of a battle to cut
spiralling levels of obesity, the British government announced this week.
Boys and girls aged between 11 and 14 will have to attend the
classes from September and will learn to cook eight classic healthy
British favourites, including roast chicken and shepherd's pie.
Education Secretary Ed Balls, who made the announcement, told the
Daily Mirror newspaper: "Teaching kids to cook healthy meals is an
important way schools can help produce healthy adults."
"My mum was passionate about all this and bought me my first Delia
Smith book," he said, referring to a popular television chef.
'Real problems with obesity'
Balls, who has asked the public to suggest other dishes pupils could
be taught to cook, told BBC radio that the nation would have "real
problems" with obesity in the coming years unless the issue was
The move was welcomed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has
campaigned for better food in schools over several years.
He told the Mirror: "It's of the utmost importance that all kids
learn to cook good food from scratch and shop well. I will be fully
Some 85 percent of schools already offer food-technology classes. The remaining 15 percent will be given until 2011 before they have to
teach cookery to give them time to build kitchens for pupils and
According to a government-commissioned study last year, half of all
Britons will be obese in 25 years if current trends are not halted.
- (Sapa-AFP, January 2007)