Research Reveals 70% of Parents do not know their child's calorie intake


  • Research commissioned by PROYOUth Nutrition revealed that nearly ⅔ of parents admit that their child does less than the one hour of recommended physical activity daily with a further ⅕ of those surveyed doing less than 30 minutes.
  • 70% were unaware of what their child’s daily calorie intake should be
  • Over a third of parents admitting their child doesn’t have the recommended 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.
  • 60% of parents when questioned weren’t able to correctly state what constitutes a ‘portion’ under the new government regulation.


New research into child health and nutrition has revealed a staggering 70% of parents do not know what the daily food intake for their child is. The study, commissioned by sport nutrition brand PROYOUth Nutrition, highlights a serious lack of education within nutrition rooted more prominently in that of parents rather than their young ones.


If unable to balance rich nutrition with an active lifestyle, the nation is likely to see a continuous rise in obesity as brought to light by the Prime Minister’s £10m campaign to combat the problem.


One way to tackle obesity ourselves is by ensuring future generations are being fed a mix of key food groups under the recommended portion sizing laid out by the NHS. Yet when questioned, over half (60%) of Brit mums and dads, were unable to correctly state what constituted ‘one portion’ with over a third (38.4%) detailing that their child does not keep five helpings of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.


Consuming food that is high in sugar and saturated fat has been linked to an extensive list of health issues including obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, sometimes later in life.

But despite these well documented implications, 45% allow their child indulge in fast food at least twice a week with a further 41% of total participants disclosing that their child consumes 2 or more helpings ‘empty calorie’ foods (such as fizzy drinks, cakes and biscuits) daily at home too.

A nutritionally rich lifestyle is only half the story when it comes battling obesity, another key method of keeping those pounds off is by doing regular exercise. Physical activity increases people's total energy expenditure, which can help them stay in energy balance and lose weight, as long as they don't eat more to compensate for the extra calories they burn.

We all know exercise is good for us, yet just over two thirds of parents (66.6%) say their child does less than 1 hour of active activity per day with a further 20% doing less than 30 minutes, less than half the amount recommended by the government. 

When at home, over a quarter (28.6%) of children spend 3 or more hours watching TV, online videos or playing computer games everyday, three times more on average than the NHS guideline.

 The data also suggests there’s a need for increased education on the topic of nutrition, especially around how our food is labelled.

59.4% of respondents incorrectly stated the meaning of amber on the food traffic light system suggesting that less than half of British parents fully understand the nutritional information on the front of food packaging.

Empowering through education is far more effective than 100-200 calorie restrictions

Speaking about the data, PT and nutritionist Peter O’Halloran, official ambassador of PROYOuth Nutrition says: The fact the prime minister has acknowledged the obesity problem and wishes  to fix it is a good thing. In my opinion however, on the contrary of what we are seeing, the key to fixing an on-going problem like this is not through restriction but education - as the data from our survey suggests.


“We need to give the public the benefit of the doubt. Don’t tell them what to do through restricting campaigns and laws but educate them on nutrition and let them decide for themselves which is far more empowering for those wanting to make change.

“Our mission as a nation awaits in inspiring and educating the next generation of young families on the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle and it is clear there is a need for this on a national level.”

The least clued up parents on daily food intake by UK cities:

Percentage shows those who failed to label relevant daily intake.

  1. Dudley, Blackpool, Walsall (100%)
  2. Bath (95%)
  3. Middlesborough, Kingston (93%)
  4. Aberdeen, Wrexham, Bradford (90%)
  5. Sunderland (85%)
  6. Wolverhampton (83%)
  7. Edinburgh (81%)
  8. Exeter, Swansea, Manchester, Newcastle (75%)
  9. Cardiff (72%)
  10. Gloucester (65%) 

For more information on ProYouth Nutrition or the national nutrition survey  visit or contact the ProYouth press team by emailing or


Photo credit: Our thanks to Kyle Nieber on Unsplash for main image and fast food photo by Sepet on Unsplash