Ever since I've started this blog I've developed a secret suspision that journalists sometimes write articles specifically to piss me off. You may think that that's a ridiculous (and ridiculously arrogant) thing to say. But just look at what they had in the Dominion Post today:
Despite regular exposure to healthy messages at school, many children were getting mixed messages at home, a new study suggests.My first issue with this sort of article is that it always acts as if the worst possible outcome from any diet is getting fat. It ignores the problems that are created by not getting enough of all the nutrients you need, and any increased risks associated with particular food products except getting larger.
Massey University PhD student Jacinta Hawkins[*] found that some parents needed to go back to school for school-based healthy eating programmes to work.
During studies of four low decile Auckland schools she found some teachers saw it as a challenge getting the healthy eating message across when children went home. Teachers felt educating parents was beyond the call of duty of schools.
"There are a lot of parents doing a really good job but there are others who the message isn't reaching," Ms Hawkins said.
"It is sad to think it's because they simply don't know any better."
But in this article I could barely get up any sort of anger about that, because the anti-poor people subtext was rapidly become text. You consistently see this argument in any discussion about food - that the only reason people living in poverty eat the way they do is because they're ignorant. It's not people in poverty's fault that nutritious food is often more expensive than food that is low in nutrients (it's the food manufacturers fault - and capitalism's).
So shut up with you 'messages' bullshit and provide free breakfast and lunch in schools.
* This is what Sue Kedgley had to say about the topic "It is true that many parents are simply unaware of the problems with what they are feeding their children." Well quite, if only they knew, like Sue Kedgley, where to get the best organic produce, and that sushi is so much healthier than fish and chips then all those low decide parents would be fine.
** The researcher in question isn't a scietist or an educator, but a marketing communications researcher - just the sort of people we want to run our education system, or possibly our social welfare program - it's not entirely clear what's being proposed.