A recent report by the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group exposed some extremely worrying figures.
They showed that one child in 10 is already classed as obese by the time they start school.
Alarmingly, by the time they reach 10 or 11, that figure has doubled to 20 per cent.
These numbers reveal a ticking timebomb of weight-related health problems in future decades. We are already seeing increasing numbers of adults diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as a result of our increasingly unhealthy lifestyles.
This is why we need to make sure that young people are properly educated about the importance of a healthy diet.
The steps that are being taken by the Department of Education to introduce free school meals are important ones, and will hopefully help families take steps in this direction.
Of course many families do already feed themselves well and understand the values of exercise and a healthy lifestyle – we do not seek to patronise.
But not everyone is as enlightened. Cast your minds back to the sad spectacle of tubby parents stuffing sweets and chips through the school fences as that horrible Jamie Oliver tried to force their children to eat a well-balanced and nutritious lunch.
Teaching children good habits while they are still young can set them up for life.
Educating those adults is the much harder part.
The Portsmouth Food Partnership will, hopefully, play a big role in this education process.
And it is all very admirable, but getting people to pay attention and change their ways is difficult at the best of times. People don’t like being told that what they’re doing is wrong.
We can’t help but wonder if it goes far enough.
At at time when our NHS is already creaking from financial strain, some more dramatic form of state intervention may ultimately be required.
It’s a tough nut to crack. This is why we hope the message of healthy eating can be heeded and acted upon in the long-term by the young.
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