National Assembly for Wales


Children and Young People Committee


CO 03


Inquiry into Childhood Obesity


Evidence from : PhunkyFoods



The PhunkyFoods Programme is a practical, sustainable, evidence-based healthy lifestyles intervention aimed at improving healthy eating and physical activity knowledge and behaviours of primary school children across the UK.

The PhunkyFoods team help schools to meet healthy lifestyles curriculum requirements for Wales, Scotland and England.  The programme we offer supports inspection frameworks, helps achieve local and national Healthy Schools standards and allows schools to organise their curriculum to include more healthy lifestyles material.  We offer a lively cross-curricular approach to teaching healthy lifestyles in line with current national recommendations through art, music, history, drama and a real hands-on approach to food.

The PhunkyFoods Programme meets NICE/SIGN guidelines for Early Years and school settings and also supports the Change4Life campaign and the Welsh Goverment's Appetite for Life recommendations.


What do schools receive as part of the PhunkyFoods programme?

Each school receives free training in the programme, plus the tools to cascade the training across the school staff.  A resource box is given to each school which includes teaching and classroom resources to support the main programme.  The resources include food models, large EatWell Plate floor mat, interactive whiteboard DVDs, interactive big books, and music CDs, photocards, discussion cards, plus workbooks on various topics.  The resource box is updated and added to each academic year.

Every school then has access to the PhunkyFoods website which houses the main PhunkyFoods curriculum and lesson plans on healthy eating and physical activity. Lessons are taught through the main curriculum/topics and themes or via breakfast, lunch or after-schools clubs.


Case studies

We have a number of case studies at


For example, Alison Gribben, Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Allonby Primary, Cumbria:
We’ve been running the PhunkyFood’s programme in school since January 2011 and Friday afternoons are dedicated to the programme.  We wanted to take PhunkyFood’s on to be able to implement fun activities to introduce the children to the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.  The programme is used throughout the school in the shape of a carousel activity; with children moving around in groups.  We also dip into the programme when our art, P.E. and I.C.T curriculum link with the content.  Our pupils have benefited from a better awareness of healthy eating and the sources of food production, and as a result our children are more aware of what foods they should be eating.  Packed lunches which are brought into school have become much healthier, and parents have been informed of the programme running in school.”


A number of both in-house and independent evaluations have been conducted over the past 8 years.  There are 3 strands to our current research programme:


1. In-house annual research – conducted by the PhunkyFoods team

• Process evaluation from all current schools in the form of an online survey. To view the Annual Schools Survey 2011-12 click here

• Impact evaluation utilising the PhunkyFAD (Food and Activity Diary)

2. Feasibility Study, including process evaluation, of the PhunkyFoods Programme – conducted by Professor Pinki Sahota (Leeds Metropolitan University) & funded by Nestlé UK Healthy Kids Network

·         2-year cluster randomised controlled trial

·         Start date: September 2012

·         Results due: September 2014

·         Sample of 8 schools in Halifax, West Yorkshire

·         Target population – Year 2 and year 4 children in each school (KS1 and 2)


Outcome measures:

Primary outcome measure (short term – 3-months)

·         The ability of the programme to generate an improvement in the health knowledge score of participating children

Secondary outcome measures (medium term – 1 year)

·         The ability of the programme to promote an improvement in the healthy eating behaviours of participating children (fruit & veg intakes, water intakes, breakfast consumption, high fat/sugary foods/drinks)

·         The ability of the programme to promote an increase in habitual physical activity levels

Tertiary outcome measures (long term – 2 years)

·         The ability of the programme to generate positive changes in BMI of participating children


Data collection methods at baseline with repeat measures at 9-months and 21-months:


·         Health knowledge survey

·         Dietary behaviours and physical activity levels – SNAP tool

·         Heights and weights – BMI

3. Cluster randomised controlled trial, economic and process evaluation to determine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the PhunkyFoods Programme in improving the dietary and physical activity habits of young children across the UK – funding application under development as a joint bid between Prof. Pinki Sahota (Leeds Met Uni) and Dr Sara Kirk (HNR, Cambridge).


More information

You can find more information on the PhunkyFoods website.