Saturday, March 10, 2012


A billion dollar question that begs for an answer is why Americans are "bloating up" at a pace that may soon find mention in "Guinness Book of World Records"! Of course there is no simple answer to this complex question and the policy makers in that country are going in circles to overcome this national disaster. But here is a small country in Europe, Scotland which seems to have realized the reason for people gaining uncontrolled body weight and its conclusion is fairly simple. Gross ignorance of any thing and every thing about foods eaten every day is the root cause of wrong foods consumed beginning from early childhood. These foods are qualitatively poor measured in terms of nutritive and health yardsticks. The remedy being thought of this economically rich country is to invest on education to teach kids more about basic aspects of food including sources, production, processing, safety, nutrition and health information. It is interesting to read the minds of the policy makers who are talking about the changes in the education system that will equip future citizens to be conscious and careful about the food they eat and the way they eat. 

"School pupils are to learn more about the food they eat as part of a £2 million project to improve the nation's diet. A group of experts made up of those from the food industry and the education sector will steer the three-year programme, which will help children understand more about their diets and how food impacts on their health and on the environment. The project, which was announced today by rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead, will encourage children to visit farms, fishing and food companies to learn more about their health. It will also be made easier for teachers to use food as a topic in Curriculum for Excellence: Mr Lochhead said: "Whether through farm visits, working with local companies or embedding food topics in the curriculum, food education is key to helping young people understand the role food plays in their lives. By encouraging pupils to learn more about these issues they can have the facts they need at their disposal to make informed choices for their future. "It's no secret that Scotland faces issues around the health of our nation and – like every other country – we need to protect our environment and face up to the challenges around climate change. "Food education has an important role to play in this, helping our youngsters make healthier choices and ensuring they are more aware of the importance of eating sustainably. That's why every schoolchild in Scotland will benefit from the food education package announced today."

One redeeming feature of this pro-active policy is to rope in the industry as a partner to transform the perceptions into workable programs at the ground level. Does it not make sense that small kids in early stages of development are more amenable to sensible
suggestions and advice? Why is this not happening in many countries where food is causing immense damage to the populace due to wrong products being manufactured by insensitive industry and wrong choices by the consumers, mostly because of economic factors? Probably such positive things may not happen unless industry cooperates in showcasing their facilities for better understanding by the children. This is happening in Scotland giving the experiment a better chance of success.


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