Wednesday, June 02, 2004

"Drop McDonald's"

Okay, this is getting ridiculous now. The Football Association has been asked to cancel the sponsorship deal it has with McDonald's by the chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee, David Hinchliffe.

First the Irish government bans ads for food and drink that target children. Now a UK MP is calling on the FA to dump McDonald's because somehow their food is responsible for all the fat kids out there.

My first reaction is, why McDonald's? What about all the beer sponsors? Doesn't promoting beer to children have a negative effect?

But, I can't help thinking that too many people in government are so afraid of admitting the real causes of childhood obesity that they are lashing out at the easy targets. Try these childhood obesity promoters for example:
  • fear - all the scaremongering that the media has heaped upon us has convinced many parents that letting our children out to play is the equivalent to setting them lose in pedophilia-land. Also, parents are just much more protective of their children today and where are they safer than in the house?
  • working couples - when both parents work, the kids are not able to get home and get out. They are often looked after in daycare centers/creches or in houses outside their own neighborhood. Also, when both couples work, it's less likely that the kids are even walking to school and back.
  • small families - two big problems here: (1) when families were bigger there were always loads of kids around to "get out and play with". Also when families were bigger there was always someone around - even if everyone else was away; there was no excuse for staying in and (2) the family budget was more stretched so fast foods and snacks were less plentiful.
  • responsibility - a lot of parents are just abdicating, they can't say "NO". This is partly due to the smaller families and bigger incomes that parents have and partly due to the "don't discipline your children" mentality that is advocated today. Many parents just can't win when battling their children.