“Should shops stop selling sweets and sugary drinks to kids before school?”
There were some people that said yes, others said it was the responsibility of the parents, others said education was needed, yet others talked about a sugar tax.
I had a bit to say about this topic so I thought I would share that here and as always I would love to hear what you guys all think about it so comment below.
This is such a multifaceted problem. It's not as simple as saying it's the parents responsibility to educate their families. I have two teenage boys, I don't stock junk food in the house, I promote healthy eating until the cows come home but that DOES NOT STOP THEM buying Doritos and Mountain Dew or Pepsi or lollies at the dairy on the way to and from school. And I can't be with them every second of the day to monitor what they’re eating. TBH I’m not entirely sure they would want me to, I might cramp their style or something like that.
Now let’s get real, as adults we know the dangers and pitfalls of bad nutrition choices. There’s enough information out there if you choose to seek it out. But as teenagers did we really care??? We were invincible! IT wasn’t going to happen to us. More than likely it wasn’t until we had kids of our own that we really were more conscious of what we were doing or eating because now we had others we were responsible for. And let’s get even more real here, even though a lot of us know what we should and shouldn’t be eating, how many of us are ACTUALLY eating properly to stay healthy. Or how many of us actually know HOW to put the healthy foods together in a way that will help us receive the health benefits e.g. better sleep, fat loss, more energy…the list goes on. Education only goes part way, so when we know what we SHOULD be doing, why don’t we do it?
Back to putting the responsibility back on the shops. Shops are businesses plain and simple so unless they have a social conscience and would agree to the drop in revenue that would come with refusing to sell sweets and sugary drinks to kids before school, or they all agreed to do it because I think we can be pretty sure that if one shop out of two took this action then revenue for the one that didn’t would spike, they are there to make money after all. As long as they're not promoting foods as healthy when they aren't what can we do about it?
Sugar tax is a great idea because at the end of the day the choices people make about what they put in their bodies will compound and have a long term effect on their health if they are consistently making poor nutrition choices, and the impact on the public health system treating those issues down the track is phenomenal for diet related diseases that could really be avoided. But wait, it doesn’t stop there!!! Is it as easy as saying make better choices? What if the “better food choices” aren’t easily accessible to you? How do you then “get healthy”?
Let me give you an example - where I live, there's an area which is in the lower socioeconomic bracket and within the last couple of years the only supermarket (which was one of the more expensive ones) was closed down. If private transport is difficult or not an option and public transport is expensive (imagine trying to carry your weekly shop home on the bus) then accessibility to healthy foods, fresh fruit and veges, meat, whole foods etc is harder when the food providers in the area are predominantly unhealthy e.g. children are buying pies for breakfast on the way to school, check the number of pies that are sold in that area every morning. The very people who are over represented in less than favourable health statistics live in an environment where healthy options are few and far between and while healthy eating isn’t actually expensive (that’s another blog post) I don't think it's as simple as asking if shops should stop selling sweets and sugary drinks to kids before school.
My short answer - as a parent my answer is "absolutely, I would love that" as a realist there are wider and deeper issues that need to be addressed. So where do we start?
I believe the first place to start is with you and your family. Make the change to a healthy active lifestyle, experience the benefits, and then share with friends and family. Let's start creating the ripple effect together.
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