The problem with Laissez faire in Obesity


The problem with Laissez faire in Obesity

With Obesity rate likely to hit 40% of the UK population by 2030 (The Lancet , 26th August 2011) can we really afford to be so Laissez faire about intervention?

All informed opinion and knowledgable opinion accept this is a ticking time bomb in terms of lives lost and the enevitable cost of remedy to the tax payer. A likely increase of around £2 billion per annum by 2030.

Countless cookery programs, yet the UK population eats more ready meals and junk food than ever before, what causes this inertia? Why is being healthy so difficult?, Why is healthy food such a turn off? Why do we think healthy food means rabbit food?

What is the answer?

Should we tax junk food, ready meals or fast food?
Do we make fresh produce more cheaply available?

Sucessive govenrment have been afraid of taking leadership and decisive action in fear of being labelled a nanny state, if they are too prescriptive about dietary guidelines. Yet I believe that is exactly what it’s going to take begin to tackle this growing problem.

We’ve allowed the problem to manifest itself firmly within our eating culture , and we’re relying on drugs and surgery as the cure, instead of investing in the education to prevent the trend from taking hold in the first place.

It is my opinion we should teach our children food chemistry and the effects of food on our biological processes, and daily functions, going right back to basics. Infact embark on a practical teaching curriculum that is far more radical than we have ever taught in our school before. We should teach simple cookery to every child as part of the curriculum to ensure children have life skills to prevent dietary related illnesses. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s relaxing and very satisfying. Clients come to our cookery classes and say “why have we waited till this age to learn the fundamentals about food and the importance of nutrient values from a private cookery school for a few previledged people instead of being taught this at school, it’s so fundamental to life.”

Is it our parents responsibility to teach this in the home? For example we have made sex education compulsory in schools to promote safe sex and reduce teenage pregnancy, Should we attach equal importance to healthy eating. Is healthy and nutritious eating as important as teaching the process of plant regeneration and phytosynthesis. Why don’t we teach our children the value and nutrient content of everyday food and the effects of food chemistry, for example the effects of sugar in the blood and energy conversion and the related effects on diabetes, instead of focussing on co2 and hydrogen chloride. Food chemistry has a far greater practical application in real life to all student than just those who wish to take up chemistry as a career choice.

As the austerity measure take effect and we feel the pinch of government spending perhaps it is time we made some suggestion of our own to protect our income tax expenditure for the future.

Written by Kumud Gandhi – Food writer, broadcaster and Founder of The Cooking Academy cookery school. Kumud Gandhi has a background in Food science and teach the importance of healthy eating for improved performance in work and school and for general well being. Contact Kumud on


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