In some countries and cultures, free school meals are something of a tradition and considered as normal. This has enabled the assurance that a child will receive, at least once a day, a good healthy meal. This approach to eating has no-doubt improved national health and reduced social differences in the countries that embrace the system.
Over the last few years the situation has gotten a lot worse. Children are more drawn to fizzy drinks and food with low nutritional value. At home, family meals are unheard of and family ties are a thing of the past. Instead of fresh home cooked meals families rely on instant microwave foods and snacks.
The world is getting fatter. In 12 year old boys obesity has almost tripled in one generation. Before this boys of this age would have been doing sports or other activities to burn of the calories they have taken on board. Today, youth is found slumped in front of the X-Box 360 or PS2.
It is clear that obesity is not just an issue of nutrition and unhealthy dietary habits, but the problem lies embedded at home and school. Parents and schools need to provide children with delicious and cost effective meals. The whole problem is the direction our society is heading at.
More blame on the obesity crisis has to be placed on the parents and the homes. It is safe to say that the vast majority of the nation will not be able to gather for the five o'clock tea.
What families need to ensure is to do the minimum of dining together over the weekend. Children can be involved in the cooking from an early age. This way children will grow to value and appreciate the food and the family from an early age.
We are headed towards a new class divide. Fraction of the families will deal with dining honourably and will bring up a generation that is by far healthier and knowledgeable than its predecessors. Dysfunctional families and young families will eat unhealthy meals or have unhealthy dietary habits. The children may have fluctuations where they will go without meals for days and then binge and gain masses of weight. This will also lead to bullying in more cases than one.
Obesity and healthy dietary habits are a delicate matter. People need to be aware that over educating will evoke rebellion in children, it is also advised to over exaggerate issues. Everyone has a right for a treat every now and again.