So, Labour is promising to reduce the amount of sugar in our food.
I agree obesity is a major problem in New Zealand. However there is in my opinion about a 50:50 split between individual responsibility and corporate responsibility. One can blame Coca-Cola and other manufacturers of fast food products for a lot of the problem, but to blame them for individual responsibility that you and I should be taking for our own health is going too far.
On the subject of individual responsibility, one cannot blame Coca-Cola for deciding to let their twelve year old child go to bed with a one litre bottle of Coke at their side – a true story I heard from my mother who is a retired nurse. The parents have to assume responsibility for teaching their children healthy eating haibts. It is not like the simple act of explaining why fruit is good, is nuclear physics. Nor can Coca-Cola and co be blamed for a loony decision made to drop onsite dental clinics in primary school – I remember one at my old Primary School and having to go during break one day and be given a filling and told to eat on the right side of my mouth for 24 hours.
And what about the school kids who turn up in their droves at McDonalds, KFC and so forth every day around lunch time. Could they not have taken a home made lunch – what is wrong with a couple of sandwiches an apple and a muesli bar? That was often what I had for lunch. Certainly a lot better than nothing at all. When I was at Primary School on Monday’s at lunch time there was a filled roll stall set outside the school library where one collected a roll that they had ordered that morning – it might be ham with cheese, lettuce, beetroot and mayonnaise.
A few months ago a District Health Board in the North Island decided to remove Coke vending machines from its hospitals. Given that hospitals are a place to be treated for major illnesses and to be given a place to stay until well enough to go home, it is only appropriate that all hospitals in all District Health Board areas remove these vending machines from their premises. It is not that vending machines are necessarily bad, as what they are typically loaded with that is. One possibility for alternative vending machines is to work with dairy companies to provide small milk bottles, such as those that children in the 1950s and 1960s used to have at school. Because milk has calcium which is necessary for teeth and bone growth, it’s financial cost could be offset by the nutritional value gained.
Or is a bit of common sense and owning ones health not the sweetener that voters worried about health issues in New Zealand were looking for?