independent

Friday 20 September 2019

Scaremongering won't solve obesity

DEBORAH COLEMAN

SO, ACCORDING to experts global obesity could be putting future world food stocks in jeopardy and if we don't take the matter firmly in hand sustainability could become difficult.

The obesity problem is never going to be fully solved however and scaremongering with all sorts of statistics referring to generations from now is unlikely to assist matters.

Until recently when the stress that obesity-related illness are putting on the health service has become clear there is a belief that the problem can be rectified quickly but this is far from the case.

It's not as simple as going on a diet. Lifestyle change is difficult and often even when medical professionals tell a patient how physically unwell they are, habits don't change. The only way to overhaul the weight problem of a population is to start from the bottom up. Children must be exposed to good lifestyle and health practices from day one.

Every year research is published detailing staggering findings about children's awareness of food sources. Often they believe that milk and eggs simply come from cartons and are at a loss to connect which meat comes from which animal.

This is basic stuff and anyone who doesn't enlighten their children to this really should be asking themselves some questions.

If there is a lack of awareness about what is a natural food product then how can children, as they grow into aduthood differentiate between unhealthy processed products and what should be consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet?

There was outrage in Britian in recent months when a nine year old named and shamed the less than ideal school dinners being churned out daily at her local school. The kneejerk reaction was to ban the girl from taking pictures so that the papers wouldn't pick up on any negative opinions rather than making positive changes to the menu. Since the Never Seconds blog came to public attention the school is reported to have improved the menu but it really shouldn't have needed public humiliation to inspire the shift.

There's also always an argument that it's much more expensive to eat healthily but this is not the case. It might be more convenient to pick up a 'meal' from a fast food outlet, but cheaper it certainly isn't.

The obesity problem is not specific to one country but from region to region it is dealt with in different ways.

The Mayor of New York wants to ban certain sizes of sugar laden soft drinks which are so big it really would be nothing more than gluttony to finish one while in Pakistan, this week there is talk of giving police officers the ultimatum of going on a diet or leaving their job.

They are well intentioned proposals and every big change must start somewhere but the obesity problem didn't erupt overnight and certainly won't be improved that quickly.

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