You often here the fast food industry being blamed for the obesity epidemic, but is this really fair? After all you don’t see their employees on the street with baseball bats herding people through their doors. We choose to eat in these places of our own free will, so who is to blame.
Education and Weight Loss
You can apportion blame for the obesity epidemic in a number of areas and undoubtedly the biggest portion of that blame lies with the individual. You have freedom of choice as to which foods you choose to eat and how much you want to be active after all. However some blame needs to be deposited directly on the education system. We now have a generation who don’t all possess some basic cooking skills. I recently had a student on a personal trainer’s course who didn’t know how to make mashed potato. If people lack fundamental cooking skills is it any wonder that they rely on fast food restaurants for a lot of their meals? What is more lacking cooking skills is expensive as you then don’t understand how to prepare meals from basic cheap ingredients. We know that obesity has a strong correlation with socio-economic status with lower income groups having higher rates. So this group cannot afford to be eating fast food, what is more the nutritional value of these foods is very low leading to poor health and weight gain. The other thing common in this socio-economic group is lack of education. There is insufficient time given in school curriculums to both cooking skills and nutrition education. When you hear stories of primary school children not realising that potatoes come from the soil you know there is something amiss.
There is a real irony here because never before has there been so many celebrity chefs, cooking programmes on TV and access to recipes and advice via the internet. Mum’s are not passing on cooking skills to their children and in some cases this is because they don’t have them in the first place.
How do we redress the balance?
We need to invest more in nutrition and cooking education in schools. Long-term this will likely be more effective for weight loss than the regular public health messages about obesity, five-a-day etc. Educating the next generation about how to use basic ingredients and prepare simple meals is likely to have more long-term benefit than a bunch of leaflets and posters. It may also help them realise that healthy eating does not necessarily have to be an expensive choice.
If you would like more straightforward nutrition and weight loss advice why not sign up for the seven FREE video series by completing the simple form below.