Mark Tami MP joins Dr Hilary Jones to celebrate school milk in Parliament

Local MP, Mark Tami, this week joined TV’s Dr Hilary Jones at an event at the House of Commons to celebrate the role of school milk in supporting childhood health.

Dr Jones is the spokesperson for the School and Nursery Milk Alliance, which works to highlight the health benefits of milk in schools. The organisation presented MPs with new research it has produced on the number of children who are already suffering from obesity or dental decay at the age of five.

11.3% of 5 years olds in Flintshire are obese, and 32.5% have suffered from tooth decay. Evidence shows that drinking milk may support immediate and lasting dental and bone health in five to 11 year old children, and could have a positive effect on preventing childhood obesity.

Mr Tami, who was also able to sample the milk children receive today, had this to say:

“Obesity is one of my key concerns in today’s society, especially child obesity, and I am a big supporter of anything that tackles the issue. I wasn’t aware at how prevalent tooth decay was either. The benefits of drinking milk at an early age are extensive and I strongly believe we should do all we can in Flintshire to encourage it. Flintshire’s child obesity and tooth decay figures are concerning and that is why I am supporting this campaign.”

In the UK, children under five in childcare or primary school can get a free portion of milk every day through the Nursery Milk Scheme. Children aged five to 11 can get currently subsidised milk through the European School Milk Scheme – although it is currently unclear if this will continue once the UK leaves the EU. The Alliance has called on the Government to ensure children have access to milk in early years’ settings as a means of tackling obesity and dental decay. The Alliance has also encouraged ministers to support a replacement for the EU School Milk Scheme that allows children over five years old to receive subsidised milk in schools.

Dr Hilary Jones, Spokesperson for the School and Nursery Milk Alliance, said:

 “The national figures for childhood obesity and dental decay are shocking. But our research shows that in many deprived areas the story is even worse. Evidence shows that ensuring children are regularly drinking milk can help address these problems. I’m delighted that X MP was able to join us and to support us  in our call to ensure that access to milk in school continues to be available, including for those children who currently benefit from the EU School Milk Scheme.”