About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

This event took place on Thursday 28 September. You can watch the recording below.

In Wales, more children are obese by the time they start primary school than in any other part of the UK. Bringing down obesity levels is essential to ensure that the next generation doesn’t live with long-term preventable health conditions.

We need to make sure that healthy school food is accessible and appealing: food eaten in school is an important part of children's diets, making up 17% of all meals and snacks eaten by primary school children.

The recent announcement of universal free school meals by the Welsh Government provides a ripe opportunity to improve the diets of young children, with 196,000 additional children eligible for free school meals. But how can we ensure children and families take up the free school meal offer and eat healthy and nutritious meals during their school day?

With 25 years working in advertising and marketing, Dan Parker knows how to connect consumers to choices. Dan is the CEO of Veg Power, a not-for-profit organisation which inspires kids to eat more vegetables and is best known for the multi-award winning Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign. Now in its fifth year, the campaign reaches 46 million people and the primary schools of 1,000,000 pupils with 59% of parents and kids saying they ate more vegetables as a result.

Dan joined Nesta’s healthy life Mission Manager Jonathan Bone to explore how we can engage with schools and parents to improve how young people eat and reduce rates of childhood obesity.

Why you should watch the recording

This free online event was for anyone interested in the solution to child obesity, whether you work with children, are a parent, or work in policy, local or national government, education or an organisation working for young people.

Jonathan and Dan explored how we can get more children eating healthy food through tried-and-tested interventions and how we can scale different approaches across the UK.

The opinions expressed in this event recording are those of the speaker. For more information, view our full statement on external contributors.



Dan Parker


Dan Parker has worked in marketing and advertising for 25 years. As Chief Executive and Executive Creative Director of marketing innovation agency Sponge, he pioneered online, mobile and location marketing for the world’s largest food, restaurant, grocery, media and technology brands. Since 2015 he has consulted on the role of advertising in public health and childhood obesity for UNICEF, EU, OECD, Jamie Oliver, Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health. In 2018 he partnered with The Food Foundation, Baroness Boycott, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Sir John Hegarty to launch Veg Power. Veg Power is a not-for-profit organisation that inspires kids to eat more vegetables and is best known for the multi-award-winning Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign. Now in its fifth year the campaign reaches the homes of 46 million people and theprimary schools of 1,000,000 pupils. 59% of parents and kids saying they ate more vegetables as a result of the campaign. Veg Power also supports parents to improve their children’s diet through its Simply Veg channels and encourages people to buy seasonal British vegetables to reduce their carbon footprint, support British farming and enjoy tastier and more nutritious vegetables.