Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Jamie honoured for obesity work

Jamie Oliver has been honoured for his work to improve school dinners
Jamie Oliver has been honoured for his work to improve school dinners

Jamie Oliver has been hailed for his "outstanding contribution" to public health by leading doctors.

The 38-year-old TV chef was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) for his work in tackling the "ticking time-bomb" of childhood obesity and his efforts to improve school dinners.

Jamie said he was "humbled" to receive the award and praised the work of family doctors in the battle against the obesity crisis.

The college praised the chef, who can now use the letters FRCGP (Hon) after his name, for his high profile public health campaigns and "innovative" work on nutrition.

Jamie said doctors could help tackle the long-term issues which might not be resolved by politicians during their short electoral terms.

"Governments, as wonderful or awful as they might individually be in their randomly changing roles, they are like ships that pass in the night," he said.

"Sometimes if they get great they often move on and someone on their maiden voyage has to learn and pick it up from scratch again.

"So actually GPs, chefs, the people that work in public health - they're the people that spend decades doing it. Hopefully between us all we can make a difference.

"To make real change you need to be able to think in 10 to 15 years in advance, not three.

"I'm not a political expert but all I would say is that change requires that long-termism.

"When it comes to things like school food and school food education I don't think it should be political, it should be standard."

Jamie accepted he is "not an academic man" and said the award "means a lot".

He said food can "transform" people's confidence and self esteem.

"The education to cook is powerful," he added.

"I am proud to say that I have done my bit."

RCGP chairwoman Clare Gerada said Oliver's enthusiastic support of healthy eating has engaged the public.

She added: "Jamie Oliver is one of the UK's best-loved chefs and one of our most famous exports.

"Jamie was nominated for his contribution to nutrition and improving the health and wellbeing of children.

"Honorary fellowship is awarded for distinguished contributions to the work of the college and it is the highest honour our college can bestow.

"It is for Jamie's contributions to healthy food and the prevention of obesity that the college is honouring him."

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