Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/507/3344
The Socialist 25 October 2007 |
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Who's to blame for teenage obesity?
Education Minister Ed Balls blames parents, teachers and "embarrassing" PE kits for the rise in teenage obesity.
"If the kit is awful or embarrassing it's much more likely the kids will forget to bring it," he said. "I don't think it's sensible for parents to be shoving food through the fence outside the school but I'm not going to say they must have this standard in their packed lunches."
This comes from the same government that has no problem with school fields being sold off to property developers, or cancelling PE or swimming lessons for SATs exam training.
The national obesity forum questions the food industry's ethics in marketing junk food to children.
In a gross understatement, Professor Philip James said that food industry actions to help ensure public health have been too little, too late.
Just banning junk food advertising during TV programmes is not enough.
The Foresight report predicts that, within 25 years, half of Britain's population could be obese and that obesity-related health care will cost £45 billion a year by 2050.
While Balls is pushing a School Food Trust campaign for a million more pupils to have school dinners, in Walthamstow it took a battle involving teachers, kitchen staff, children, parents and the Socialist Party to stop Waltham Forest council abandoning local authority provision of school dinners and letting private contractors take over the service.
Wouldn't a better solution be to take the food industry giants out of the control of the fat cats who put profits before healthy eating, and into public ownership with democratic planning that involves health experts, kitchen staff, parents and teachers?