Yet another ridiculously simplified take on childhood obesity – ban junk food, turn off the telly, regulate the junk food advertisers and the kids will become fit and healthy … the Government will be seen to be “doing something” about this terrible state of affairs – but whatever happened to parental common sense and personal responsibility?
PARENTS should only scoff chocolate or a packet of chips after the kids have gone to bed, as part of a new campaign against obesity.
Besides sneaking out of sight for a sugar hit, parents also are urged to put a two-hour time limit on their children watching television or surfing the internet …
o assist in the new campaign, a Federal Government website has had extra information posted on it, aimed at helping parents make the changes necessary to downsize their overweight kids.
Among the suggestions is that if a parent must eat junk food, it’s best to do it out of sight of impressionable children.
“Be a good role model; if you eat healthily your toddler will follow in your footsteps,” it says.
Kids are fat and don’t exercise … so are their parents. Good role models model the role – so are we teaching our kids that you can eat junk so long as you don’t get caught? That calories consumed in secret do not lead to obesity?
Perhaps the problem is precisely around the type of role models we provide as parents and teachers – if parents and teachers eat healthy food and incorporate normal exercise into their daily routine (walking or riding a bike instead of driving, playing outside with their kids, enjoying physical activity in the garden and around the house, playing sport) perhaps children will follow in their footsteps.
Balance in life does not mean balance every hour of every day, balance in diet does not mean every meal must contain all the food groups. Banning all sugar and fat is silly. Placing moral value on food items is silly. Understanding nutrition is important, but it is also important to understand the social nature of “breaking bread together” or sharing time and conversation around food. A healthy balance between nutrition, exercise, relaxation, social interaction and mental stimulation requires more than paternalistic bans on chips, chocolate bars and soft drinks (while allowing “sports bars”, “energy drinks” and other marketing rubbish …). Is it only me that thinks this approach is unmitigated vacuousness?