Talking Early Years with June O’Sullivan: in Conversation with Sonia Pombo

Child Obesity, Hunger, Allergies and Fads: How Do We Respond to these Challenges?

We all agree that child obesity is a complex issue and addressing it can seem overwhelming. Therefore, partnering and learning from others is crucial. I recently had the privilege of speaking with Sonia Pombo, the Campaigns Manager of for Action on Salt, who has much to offer us in terms of successful campaigning.

Action on Salt (AoS) was set up in 1996 as a response to the refusal of the Chief Medical Officer to reduce salt intake, following the threat of withdrawal of funds by the food industry to the Conservative Party. The current target is to reduce salt intake to an average of 6g a day for adults and even less for children, from the current average of 8.1g a day.

This reduction will have a large impact on reducing strokes by approximately 22% and heart attacks by 16% saving 17,000 lives in the UK as well as other health benefits for the population.  AoS has been successful with many supermarkets and food manufacturers choosing to adopt a policy of gradually reducing the salt content of their products, and the Government-financed a campaign to raise awareness of the effects of salt on health.

Our conversation ranges from discussion on salt “the silent killer”, salt in hot chocolate, subtle ways to reduce salt and the importance of an Early Years chef to be trained.  As a parent, nutritionist and working parent Sonia provides a very interesting overview as what we can do in nursery to support parents and challenge the food myths, fads, snacking, confusing packaging and the ethics of the food industry that can overwhelm us.