Food Active recap and review of Covid-19 webinars

by Beth Bradshaw | 28 April, 2020 9:50 am

During the Covid-19 lockdown, our normal working routines have been turned upside down in ways we could never anticipate.

Meetings and conferences are out of the window for the foreseeable – but in this Covid-19 era we have entered, the need to continue to learn and share best practice is more important than ever. A number of organisations have been hosting a fantastic range of webinars to help facilitate this, and we thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of our highlights over the past six weeks. We will also continue to update this post with more reviews of webinars as and when they run.

Covid-19 and Obesity: the collusion of two pandemics (3.4.20)

Organised by the World Obesity Federation – incredibly quickly I might add – this webinar discussed the emerging evidence for the worsening of COVID-19 symptoms amongst patients with obesity, with a fantastic range of international speakers sharing their own countries experience and data.

It was discussed that there is no evidence to suggest obesity can cause/increase the likelihood of contracting Covid-19 to date. However, there is evidence to suggest that patients with obesity are often experience higher mortality rates, or complications.

Considerations around how lockdown-life may be contributing to a rise in obesity was also discussed in great detail – considering the following factors;

Other areas covered in the webinar included evidence for special needs for patients with obesity and the psychological implications for patients with obesity.

You can access the recorded webinar below


And access the slides below


Children, Obesity and COVID-19: Risks and recommendations for the most vulnerable populations (17.4.20)

The third webinar of the World Obesity Federation series explored the implications of COVID-19 for children, and the impact of the pandemic on the treatment and prevention of childhood obesity, a crucial public health concern.

It was recognised that Covid-19 in relation to children and young people can have the following implications:

In addition there was an interesting discussion exploring how the Covid-19 lockdown may have an indirect impact on preconception care and maternal health in relation to overweight and obesity.

The lockdown may restrict access to maternal health interventions, breastfeeding and weaning support, parental support groups and overall clinical support. Some of the lifestyle changes noted in the first webinar such as reduced access to healthy food, as well as increased screen time and exposure to advertising may be an issue too. All of which, may impact on gestational weight gain, or weight status of women before they become pregnant. There was however a positive implication that may arise from the lockdown such as increased opportunities for family cohesion and skill development – some families may have never have time to go out for physical activity together before, and now there is an opportunity to.

Speakers and panellists included Ania Jastreboff (USA) & Grace O’Malley (Ireland), Paula Michele Lashley (Barbados), Jo Jewell (USA) and Simon Barquera (Mexico).

You can watch a recording of the webinar here


And access the slides from the presentation here



Supporting children’s rights to Free School Meals during Covid-19 (23.4.20)

School Food Matters, Food Foundation, Children’s Food Campaign, Food for Life and Chefs in Schools co-hosted a webinar that brought together over 300 people to talk about the challenge of feeding children during school closures.

Speakers included headteachers, catering providers, nutritionists and a Department for Education representative. A particular highlight was the talk from HC3S, Hampshire about working in partnership with schools and local authority – both showing how teams can mobilise to produce fresh food hampers for collection whilst supporting the children of key workers with hot lunches. They have produced some fantastic resources to provide meal ideas and inspiration for lunches using the £15 voucher scheme, and can be found on their Facebook page here[1].

Nutritionist at the Jamie Oliver Foundation, Jenny Rosborough also shared detail on tips on how to spend a £15 voucher on food that meets the school food standards, developed by the Bite Back 2030 – keep your eyes peeled for more variations and ideas, as well as their ‘Cook with Jack’ daily sessions featuring a chef from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food cooking up some simple, tasty and easy ideas for lunch. Andy Hudson from Department for Education who was on hand to answer a vast array of questions of the department’s response to feeding children during school closures.

If you missed the webinar you can watch it here.


A short report for the webinar has also been published, which you can access below.



Can food rebuild our communities? (28.4.20)

Not planned with Covid-19 in mind, however the theme of this webinar is arguably more important than ever – with over 400 attendees from across the globe tuning into Zoom. The guest speaker for this webinar was none other than author and thinker Carolyn Steel, author of Sitopia and the Hungry City, who hosted a 45 minute talk to explore how food is central to our quality of life, and the key to unlocking the predicaments and opportunities of our urban, digital age. Steel called on greater recognition of the importance food spaces play in keeping cities alive – food spaces in cities are more than just a place for a coffee – they are fundamental to public health, historical, beating heart of public space.

Steel’s latest book, Sitopia: How food can save the world is described by The Guardian as “A vital call for us to rediscover the way that food binds us to each other and to the natural world, and in doing so find new ways of living.”

Sitopia or “food-place”, explains how cities and human habitats have always been shaped by food – this forgotten or invisible need must be acknowledged as a central organising principle in the creation of more equitable cities and places.

You can watch a recording of the webinar below


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