The average family, is overweight. Few of us sit down for meals together, we graze in the streets, in front of the telly or isolated in bedrooms while roaming the internet viewing unsuitable material, leading into a world of mental health problems.
We are told that child poverty is off the scale. There is a debate required about what today is classed as ‘poverty’ in the UK. Are children deprived of food, or is it nurture and love they lack? Whatever the case too many are obese and so are their parents.
In most countries where there is abject poverty, the children are malnourished, skin and bones. But here poverty and increasingly normality appears to result in obesity.
The government, health ministers and the NHS are rightly concerned but I wonder if they are looking in the right direction?
Returning to ‘we are what we drink’, what is not discussed is that many of those who are overweight are drinking as many calories as they are eating.
Children are no longer brought up drinking water and milk; both essential for healthy bones and bodies. Instead from the cradle they are weaned onto sugary drinks, and when they become adults consume copious amounts of alcohol.
Everything comes down to education and that should include how parents set an example, educate at home and schools follow up.
In 1968 during Harold Wilson’s government, Edward Short abolished free school milk for secondary school children. In 1971, for which she was labelled by her enemies ‘Thatcher the milk snatcher’, Education secretary Margaret Thatcher ended free school milk for children over 7. Then when labour was back in power in 1977, Shirley Williams withdrew free school milk from infants below 7.
As the debate rattles on about how to tackle obesity across all ages, perhaps now is the time to re-introduce free school milk and water fountains, and put back on the curriculum cookery and healthy eating.
Free school milk would be good for their health and good for dairy farmers. The NHS would benefit by not having to deal with the fallout of generations of children being brought up on a diet of liquid sugar.
As for the adults, most consume two meals at a sitting, one they eat the other they drink in the form of alcohol. This catastrophic health time bomb needs defusing.
At last a decent Bank Holiday; it is good to see families out enjoying the spring sunshine.
Many of our walkers tell me how much they appreciate the opportunity to walk across the farm. A few who I have recently used to conduct my own mini research project, tell me how they enjoy seeing the cattle grazing and crops growing.
And that they hated it when fields were left as set aside and the hedges grew wild. They also tell me that they believe that farmers receive subsidies for producing food. They are shocked when told this is not the case, and learn there are plans afoot which will most likely put many small farms out of business.
They are confused by the idea that farmers will be dissuaded from producing food, but encouraged to ‘naturalised’ their land, and offer open access so more members of the public can exercise their dogs, most probably driving away wildlife in their wake. Most agreed with me that the priority for farmers should be to produce food.
I am on the hunt for those responsible for systematically ripping out the ball cocks and brass float arms from every single water trough across the farm. So far I have failed to catch the culprits, but when I do they will be extremely sorry.