Today has seen NICE announce their recommendations for gastric band surgery to be used for possibly tens of thousands of people, to hopefully alleviate the health problems caused by obesity. Type 2 diabetes is the biggest concern, with a sharp increase in cases, which adds strain on to our already buckling healthcare budgets. However I do not see this as the best way forward and will only create a short term fix. People need to be educated not given expensive surgery that will hold higher risk than normal due to the patients being obese.
So what can we do to help these people? Education is key, teaching people about healthy eating and quite possibly how to cook a meal from scratch. Sadly home economics, or food tech as my children call it, is no longer a part of the weekly timetable. Children and young people are not being taught how to cook at school often enough to make a major difference in their eating habits as adults. My husband and I have taught all of our children to cook from a young age, starting with chopping veg for a meal, to baking treats and actually preparing and cooking a family meal. In our ever busy worlds I know many people reach for ready meals at the end of a chaotic day, no longer preparing a meal from scratch, not teaching their children how to cook. Personally I think skills like this are essential and should be taught from the age of three in nurseries, throughout primary school and high school and not reserved to a once a term occurance. Cooking and meal planning should be taught every week or once a fortnight. I am sure our children will benefit far more from this than the endless testing they endure to prove to the government that they can do times tables, quadratic equations and spell words they rarely use.
Another contributory factor in the rise in obesity is our sedentary lifestyles. I regularly see people in the village driving to the village shop, to take their children to cubs or brownies, to pop to the post office. Maybe it is because I only passed my driving test six years ago and used to walk the children a mile to school when we lived in a nearby town, walked to the town centre, to nursery, but I find this ridiculous. Nevermind trying to be greener, this quick walk would help their heart, their well being. Just being outside can have positive benefits, I know I feel better after a brisk walk, however short. Andy and I have a rule since moving to our village, we only drive to somewhere in the village if we are going to be very late, it's absolutely pouring. Further impact on this sedentary lifestyle we see in the world is people are too busy. No longer do people pop out at lunchtime, take a proper break but eat lunch at their desks. They then leave work late or have a long commute and are too tired to cook a meal, favouring a quick snack or ready meal. Now I am not saying all ready meals are bad for us, I have been known to eat them! But maybe it is time to make sure we take our proper breaks, take a walk at lunchtime and make sure we leave enough time to walk to drop the children off at Brownies or to the gym, if it's possible. I know sometimes driving is the only option.
Perhaps these ideas are just pie in the sky and I know it is not always easy to make healthy choices or to walk. I am not stick thin, more a healthy size 12-14, yes I eat cake and drink wine, I am not a healthy saint. But I do exercise and make healthy food choices most of the time and cook everyday. Heading towards my forties and the menopause and my new profession makes me worry about my body shape more than it used to. I know if I am overweight heading in to the menopause it is harder to lose weight when I reach the other side and being overweight post menopause will increase my chances of getting breast cancer. Therefore if nothing else standing on my soapbox today has reminded me that I need to make sure that I need to exercise more regularly than I have been recently. But for now it's fat Friday and tonight I will drink wine and eat crisps....well we all need a treat once a week.
Until next time, take care.