Friday, September 08, 2006

Feed Me Better, Mamá

I know I do go on about the appalling diet of Argentine children on this blog, see here, here and here. It is because I am passionate about better care for the younger generation and more importantly because it is a real problem which is not going away since most parents don't do enough to correct it.

When I read today's newspapers of the UK and Australia, I was relieved to know that publicity is being generated on this very issue worldwide. Yeah, finally someone has the guts to come out and say it loud and clear, "Parents who let kids have crisps (papas fritas) and soft drinks (gaseosas) are arseholes and tossers!" Of course, it helps the person making this outcry is international celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Since becoming a father, Jamie Oliver, the cheeky TV chef has been working tirelessly on his crusade to improve school dinners (English slang which actually means school lunch). He has lashed out at parents over the food they give to their children. He said, in an interview, "the decisions parents made regarding the diets of their children were sometimes just plain wrong. It was not that parents were bad but many didn't know better."

It was no answer, he insisted, to give tired youngsters a can of a caffeine-packed drink, saying it was not much better than giving them a line of cocaine.

Oliver also said teachers were too frightened of telling parents what they should give their child to bring to school. The situation is even more serious here in Argentina. Most schools, including top private ones, do not have a health-oriented school lunch policy. Most teachers either do not consider it their responsibility or they, themselves, don't know any better on the subject of nutrition.

I know for sure my nieces and nephews often have milanesas or hamburgers provided by their school, a private one no less, plus all the frizzy drinks, cakes, chocolates, and crisps which form a toxic cocktail of caffeine, fats - especially the lethal partially hydrogenated fats, and sugar provided by loving but ignorant parents for the birthday parties which are frequent when the class size is often over 30 kids a class.

It is undeniable that our diet is much richer in fats and sugar than during the austere age of our grandparents. We also exercise a lot less since modern amenities such as private motor vehicles and taxis are more accessible. Further, kids nowadays have computer games and other electronic toys to keep them indoors and inactive.

Since our environment has changed, if we continue to ignore training and educating our future generation, from infancy, the importance of eating healthily, these innocent ones are going to grow up with serious health problem. They are probably going to die young or suffer ill health for most of their adult life.

We may not live to see our kids have diabetes or their first stroke but do we want to leave this world knowing that we have had a hand in destroying the health of the ones we love?

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