Parents play a vital role in the health of their children

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There were two contrasting yet connected news stories this week that really highlighted the sad plight of many children in this country.

For those poor souls, it’s not the system that’s letting them down. It’s us – the parents.

The first story was research by a national supermarket chain about how much food we waste in the UK.

It found that the average family will annually throw £700 worth of uneaten food into landfill – not far shy of £60 a month.

Two-thirds of fresh fruit and veg will end up in the bin.

Bagged salad is the worst offender – 70 per cent of that crispy, alluringly-wrapped goodness ends up composted and feeding the worms.

And of all the apples we buy (you know, the ones that are picked, waxed, frozen, flown in from New Zealand and then presented nicely at the supermarket), 40 per cent end up rotten to the core.

This research comes in the same week that England’s Chief Medical Officer has said that all children should be offered vitamin supplements to safeguard their health.

In fact, for many children their vitamin D intake is so low that rickets is on the rise.

Rickets? In 2013?

How can it be that we have evolved to the point that we can talk instantly, face to face, with our friends thousands of miles away, yet we as a supposedly caring, responsible generation are allowing our children to suffer preventable diseases that ravaged scurvy-ridden sailors 500 years ago?

The laughable sketch of our civilisation becoming a society of pill-popping slabs of inanimate lard, with little or no comprehension of what is good for us and what isn’t, is becoming a distressing reality.

The reactive solution of throwing vitamins at the problem is nothing more than expensive short-termism.

I believe teaching children about the importance of healthy eating is an absolute necessity,

But educating parents about their role in sustaining their children’s health is even more important.

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