One of the most surprising findings of Appetite for Destruction was that being fat isn’t a matter of individual choice. We have actively raised this current generation of fatties as if they were battery farmed hens, and our only hope for the future is to stop raising more.
Being fat is not a matter of choice. Sure, our eating and exercise habits have some sway, but as adults they only change things a little. Our body is regulated by powerful hormones, which are working to a blueprint. This is why we adults tend to fluctuate around a certain weight, unless we starve ourselves, which rarely works in the long term. Your blueprint is determined partly by your genes, but mostly by your early experiences in the womb and childhood. As your body was growing, it learned about what sort of food is available, and responded accordingly. If you were fat while you were young, chances are your body got used to it. By the time you became an adult and can truly be said to ‘choose’ what you are eating, you have a body blueprint and set of habits that render that choice a farce. Basically, it’s too late to change much.
Once we accept this fact, it becomes really obvious that the food our children experience in the first few years of their lives is crucial for their development. And this isn’t anything to do with making sure they have the most expensive organic baby food. It is a simple matter of giving them good wholesome tucker, real food, and minimising the processed fake food.
The trouble is that nowadays it is getting harder and harder to tell what is good honest tucker. There are more products than there used to be, and all the labelling and advertising tries to make them as appealing and healthy as possible. And the regulations on labelling and false advertising don’t help – you only have to look at the nominations for Worst Kids Marketing to see what we are talking about.
No wonder half of Kiwis are confused about how to eat healthily. In lieu of the Government stepping up and having compulsory front of pack nutrition labelling, this is our first reason for sponsoring the Munch awards – to improve the discussion and information available on healthy eating amongst the good Kiwi public. The Best & Worst Food Product awards should do the trick in that respect. But of course it is usually best to make food from scratch, which is why it is great to see a Best Kids Kitchen Product award too.
But all factors considered, it seems that the majority of parents do a pretty good job of this for the first few years of a child’s life. But after about the seven we start giving our kids money and allow them the choice of what to eat. And no surprise it seems they turn to heavily advertised junk food, stacked full of all the nasties: sugar, salt and saturated fat.
Given that we are starting to find out how addictive these things are to people, we can only wonder what impact they have on our growing kids. It seems crazy that we expect our kids to make good choices when they are bo