Add some greens to your couch pota­toes

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

DID you perk up, an­tic­i­pat­ing ex­tra fund­ing for cancer drugs or hospital equip­ment, when you heard that NHS Eng­land has found £40m to make us health­ier?

Hmm. It seems that 100,000 obese peo­ple are go­ing to be of­fered free cook­ery and ex­er­cise classes. And it’s not a one-off. The NHS is putting aside £40m a year for this ridicu­lous project.

For­get the tired ar­gu­ment that money will be saved be­cause we’ll all be fit and healthy and not tak­ing up hospital beds.

Lead­ing us by the nose will not achieve this.

No one can say any longer that they don’t know about bal­anced meals, or that sugar is out to get us. We are sat­u­rated with life­style pro­grammes and doc­u­men­taries on the sub­ject. Best­seller book charts are packed with re­duc­ing plans and di­etary ad­vice; even lo­cal coun­cils of­fer tips for bet­ter liv­ing.

Act­ing ig­no­rant about what makes us fat is as daft as trot­ting out the old ‘we can’t af­ford healthy food’ ar­gu­ment.

Sadly, many peo­ple are on a re­stricted bud­get and have to make do with what is left in the store cupboard at the end of the week, but we are not talk­ing about fam­i­lies like this who are in dire straits and have lit­tle or no choice about what they eat. These peo­ple are rarely, if ever, obese, but are more likely to suf­fer from mal­nu­tri­tion.

The likely can­di­dates for the free cook­ery classes will usu­ally be slumped in front of the TV with vast quan­ti­ties of fast food. It is their choice and has noth­ing to do with be­ing in­formed, or not be­ing able to buy a car­rot.

A vegetable stir-fry is much cheaper than a take­away curry. A jacket po­tato with cheese costs much less than a Nando’s blow-out.

And for those who say food can be an ad­dic­tion – yes, I agree. But we can also get addicted to be­ing health­ier, with­out a penny be­ing sac­ri­ficed by the NHS.

Thank good­ness for Uxbridge Col­lege stu­dents who have clearly been eat­ing plenty of brain food.

A team has per­formed bril­liantly in a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion called De­bat­ing Mat­ters, win­ning the lo­cal heat last term and scoop­ing the Lon­don fi­nal this month.

They will now com­pete in the na­tional fi­nal in July; one of 12 re­gional teams. Many con­grat­u­la­tions – and good luck. We’ll all be root­ing for you.

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