||Issue No. 152||13 September 2002|
The Legacy of 11/9
Interview: Still Flying
International: President Gas
Politics: Australia: A Rogue State?
History: Levelling September
Unions: Welfare Max
Bad Boss: Welcome to Telstra!
Health: Fat Albert: The Grim Reaper
Poetry: A Man From the East And A Man From The West
Review: The Sum Of All Fears
The Locker Room
Week in Review
The CFMEU Race Debate #2
Keeping it Clean
Sue the Leaders?
Fat Albert: The Grim Reaper
As a child one of my favourite morning shows was undoubtedly the irrepressible Fat Albert: a youth of somewhat ample proportions but nevertheless the youngster most likely to bring understanding compassion and commonsense to the schoolyard. No more! He is the repugnant spawn of all that is wrong with our children, he is, "tubby" and an anti-hero. Bill Cosby is making your children fat. Fat Albert would now represent all that is wrong with the world (well the eating part of it anyway).
Our kids are getting fat. This week I was able to squeeze in a couple of slices of the NSW Summit on Childhood Obesity. Now despite the ribbing I got from my fellow workers I decided to remain my ever watchful but open minded self. So fat was a feminist issue, now it's a parental issue! Does anyone else find it slightly strange that despite some two thirds of the world's children dying of starvation we in Sydney Australia are having a conference about fat kids? Sure it's a legitimate health issue but really.
And boy, as we were told this is a huge issue caused by the convergence of a variety of factors such as parents being too frightened to let their children out by themselves, crime, urban design, public liability insurance, children not being able to develop appropriate motor skills to catch a ball etc etc. And here I am thinking isn't it the fact that parents are feeding their kids shit food and not making them play outside for at least an hour a day? But wait for it, the professionals have decided there is no silver bullet answer, so I guess we will have to continue to fund more researchers in order for them to release reports telling us that when you eat too much and don't exercise you get fat.
Just as an aside, to ensure those mothers out there who are working and struggling to make ends meet feel worse, the conference was told mothers who do not breastfeed for the first six months of their child's life will not only fail to give their child the best start in life they will contribute to making their kids fat. How the hell does any debate on breast-feeding always get into any health debate regarding children? The Nursing Mothers Association is everywhere. That's what I always like to see, the old middle class chestnut of breastfeeding rammed up the proverbial at every opportunity.
And then of course we get into the old canteen debate. What should schools provide in their canteens etc. I can tell you from experience rather then the Education and Health Departments worrying about the bloody food in the canteen. Why don't they have a good look at the availability of breakfast clubs in schools?
What's that? I hear you say. It's a scheme for young people and children who don't get fed at home for one reason or another. And before you say anything, yes there are numerous areas in Sydney where children don't get fed at all prior to getting to school. For most of the people at the conference, who would not have come across these people, they are called "the economically disadvantaged". That's right, people who can't AFFORD TO BUY FOOD. So why not start looking at children who get nothing rather than focusing on children who are obviously getting too much or as the conference would have it "Not the appropriate balance of the important food groups", aaaaaaaaaaaaaah
And what is it with this TV advertising thing? Sure 80% of the advertising for food products is outside the core food groups. Lets face it, which self-respecting kid is going to throw a tantrum to pressure their parents into buying them broccoli? And sure there is a lot of program placement on commercial TV, that's why its called commercial TV. It continues to amaze me that when there is stuff on TV that people don't like they feel compelled to continue watching and then write or phone their complaints to the appropriate bodies. For God sake TURN IT OFF or even, wait for it, tell your kids why the food is shit, or, heaven forbid, say no.
If you haven't picked it up I found this conference annoying and painful. It's the great middle class masses worrying about a bloody issue that the wealth of Western Society has created. Indeed there is a role for unions in this, it's about workplace flexibility and work practices in relation to reasonable hours and family friendly policies. Thankfully, I am in control of what I feed myself and sure maybe there are people that don't know all they need to to be able to feed their children properly so why doesn't the government do something about this at a community level like, boost funding to early childhood clinics, or programs that provide young people with education about food, programs that assist parents to understand nutrition or even programs that provide food for children in disadvantaged areas.
I don't know; we seem to be able to run an Olympics but can't get the message out about food. And at the end of the day if people don't want to do this then that is the great thing about being responsible and living in a democracy, you actually have to take some responsibility for yourself and sure it is hard for children to do this but why not start at school. At least that way they could have access to good food in canteens if so directed by the Education/Health Departments and if parents want their children to have a lolly or soft drink they can provide it.
Anyways I'm off for a falafel roll and a guava juice.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|
© 1999-2002 Workers Online