OBE in New Year’s Honours for Wisbech woman who spearheads national campaign to improve children’s eating habits

Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate chats about the school dinners with Costessey Junior School child

Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate chats about the school dinners with Costessey Junior School children Demi England, 9, left; Mia Walker, 9; and Dr Patricia Mucavele, head of nutrition at the Children's Food Trust - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech woman – part of a nationwide charity campaigning to improve children’s eating habits- has become an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

Dr Patricia Jane Mucavele is head of nutrition at the Children’s Food Trust Charity and the honour is for “services to children and families and to charity.”

The Wisbech nutritionist is a familiar figure in schools and at conferences around the country promoting healthier eating for children.

Most recently Dr Mucavele has been campaigning to lower the sugar intake of children.

She said: “Excess sugar is one of the biggest threats to children’s nutrition – at the moment, they’re having two to three times more sugar than they should be for good health.

“Getting children and teenagers eating and drinking far less sugar is an enormous task”.

She said a recent Public Health England report had highlighted the huge scale and scope of the measures needed to make this happen.

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Earlier in the year she was prominent in her views on salt intake by young people and said “we’ve got to stop children getting a taste for salt before it even gets started”

She said: “It’s simple; liking salt and salty foods is a learned taste – shaped by the food children are exposed to. The less salt children eat, the less they want.

“So, how can we limit children’s intake of salt? One way is to provide guidelines or standards for educational settings, as they can have a powerful influence on children are eating habits.”

Dr Mucavele added: “I think with parent power behind us on cutting salt wherever children eat we can really start to make a difference. Of course this includes salt in food when children eat out – a real challenge for parents.”