FAT-SUITS, computer games, and entertaining quizzes are being used by academics to teach the North-East public about healthy eating.

Staff and students from Northumbria University are putting on an interactive exhibition at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle.

It aims at providing children and the general public with information about healthy living and increase awareness of the problems associated with poor diet.

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The 'Be Full of B.E.A.N.S (Brain Energy Activity Nutrition Success)' exhibition, which runs until April 22, is aimed at children and parents and is an opportunity for academics to share their research with the general public.

Advice on how to increase fruit and vegetable intake, how to increase physical activity levels, and the importance of food and cognitive function will be provided by experts in the fields of nutrition, sport and exercise sciences and psychology.

Dr Julie Young, lecturer in human nutrition at Northumbria University, is leading the exhibition. She said: "Our aim is to increase nutritional knowledge and awareness via a number of fun interactive activities in order to help reinforce this information at an early age and enable children to take the steps towards a healthier, longer life.

"The interactive element of the public engagement exhibit will open up dialogue, promote discussion and may, in addition, help to increase awareness of the implications of poor diet and lifestyle in young and older people."

Visitors to the exhibition stand will be asked to fill in questionnaires about their nutritional knowledge and also participate in active gaming, including Wii Sports, prior to and after engaging with the team and the exhibit. Data will also be captured during the collection of anthropometric measurements from participants.

A scaled down version of the exhibition will tour schools for outreach activities and community centres after the event.

Ian Simmons, director of science communications at Life, said: "This exhibition comes to us at a particularly pertinent time when the whole of society is examining what we eat and how it affects us. It will be an additional enjoyable and educational activity for our visitors who will be progressing the important research already underway at Northumbria."

Be Full of B.E.A.N.S will run at the Life Science Centre, Times Square, Newcastle, until 22 April. The exhibition is open to the general public at weekends and during school holidays between 10am and 5pm. It is open for school visits on weekdays.

For more information, visit healthylivinguk

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