Wales is an obesity hotspot, with the 5th highest child obesity rates of 35 OECD countries: in 2010, 36% of Welsh 2-15 year olds were overweight and 19% of these were obese. The literature shows that these rates are typically doubled for children attending Special Schools. These children often show change resistant behaviours such as idiosyncratic eating patterns and reluctance to try new foods, presenting the researchers with additional challenges. Although it is known that they are more likely to develop health problems and obesity than their peers in mainstream schools, they have been entirely overlooked in the existing research until now.
My Masters Research project has involved implementing the Food Dudes programme in special schools. The Food Dudes progarmme is based on the three psychological principles: role-modeling, rewards and repeated tasting. The intervention is split into two phases: the Intensive Phase (16 days) and the Maintenance Phase (rest of the academic year).Read more »