The Sunday Times this weekend 17th November reported that the Lord Mayor of London is proposing preventing the capitals school pupils from leaving schools at lunchtime in order to stop them from eating fattening takeaway foods.
In an action derived from some nutty yank in New York Johnson thinks he can make fat people thin by blocking the way to the chip shop for an hour or so. Trying to legislate against obesity is as logical as doing the same about people with bad breath! It's down to personal choices. It's also about the nurture of the child from birth. Fat burger-guzzling kids do not come from homes where the parents routinely eat grilled chicken with organic rice for dinner.
True, kids have other influences, they have tremendous pressure from media everywhere but the buck finally stops with Daddy and/or Mummy. Parents who serve up nasty fatty foods at meal times don't do so because they don't realise it's bad for them-HELLO?! In 99% of cases they just don't care. A good example set at home with healthy eating habits and regular trips to the park for a kick about is the only way to go. Positive role models really help too. Athletic, sporting heroes make for a better influence in posters on bedroom walls as opposed to Gangsta Rappers who sing about shooting policemen.
This is one way to turn a child into an aspiring Beckham and avoid him become a bullied obese boy. You are the parent aren't you? I mean who is running your household? Boris should have a clear understanding of the facts before throwing good money after bad on yet another hopeless anti-obesity scheme: Fat people will always find a way to eat fattening food and they will feed it to their kid's too without the slightest compunction. Remember those pictures in the newspapers of parents passing French fries through the school fence in Rotherham a few years ago?
In 2001 I went on a huge tour of UK schools in the West Midlands and was shocked by the parental indifference. One school with 300 kids (so a potential 600 parents) sent out invites to my seminar that took place on Parents evening in the school. This was in one of the most obese counties in the country by the way and the invite stated that free, healthy snacks would be given to all attendees.
Guess how many showed up for the seminar? Seven people and four of those were teachers from local schools who wanted to see the effect. I was so depressed but only for a week or so. I soon realised my high paying personal training clients should remain my main focus and they do to this day. Free advice is generally wasted in my 20 year experience in helping people follow a sensible healthy diet.
True, a couple of well meaning teachers and headmasters did pull on my heartstrings a few more times after the abortive event described earlier. They would periodically ask me to 'keep trying' and come and talk to the kids in their schools about being fit and strong and my social conscience made me really think about it. Then, the lack of understanding of said teachers was clarified to me when one of them suggested I contact a famous Rock Star I had trained to come along with me to the school and warn the kids about other kinds of 'vice'. Even if the guy had agreed it would have been a disaster soaked in irony. He had spent more time in rehab than in any recording studio and to hear him tell the kids not to do drugs would have been just too much!
In fact I would have stood up in the assembly hall myself and cried, "Don't worry; we can't do any drugs because you already did them all! We'll have to wait for you to die so we can smoke your ashes!"
Fame is not a role model particularly in this reality obsessed age. Kids need real athletes, people who have sacrificed time and socialising, dedicated themselves to Spartan training regimes and followed healthy diet plans in order to excel in the field of sports. All over the world countries have launched hundreds of government back anti obesity schemes and every single one of them without exception has made no discernable difference to the statistics whatsoever! Kids are getting fatter and their kids will be even fatter.
I leave you with the opening line from a book that is still used in schools as part of food and domestic technology in the UK and has been for the last 8 years. It's packed with good advice about food choices, horrific details about fast food preparation and frightening statistics about the future. This book has also made absolutely no difference in the attitudes and habits of Britain's obese kids; I know because I tracked its effects vociferously-mainly because I wrote it.
I think some parents have actually read it too but knowing better but not doing better just isn't enough. Anyhow the quote is from The Journal of the American Medical Association and it was published in 1999:
"Rarely do chronic conditions such as obesity spread with the speed and dispersion characteristics of a communicable disease epidemic."
The disease is here to stay and someone really should tell Boris.