LETTER: Self-discipline over our diets

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So the Chancellor in his wisdom has slapped a tax of sugary soft drinks - especially those brands that appeal to young children - in an attempt to prevent obesity in later life.

But is it a lost cause? What about the child-centred parents who are so desperate not to upset their demanding offsprings?

Take a look around Horsham’s crowded Carfax on a busy Saturday afternoon and without wishing to be branded as unkind or judgemental, you will see scores of women and men who could legitimately be termed, clinically obese.

And so the problem is passed on from generation to generation in a society obsessed with consumption - amounting, dare I say it, to greed.

In the past, I have stood outside Horsham’s supermarkets collecting for charity - yet another gesture of community goodwill that is threatened by the near universal use of credit cards by shoppers.

Time and again, couples with their children have trundled out pushing trolleys groaning with foodstuffs - sufficient at a guess - to feed a regiment!

And it’s not only quantity but the type of foods purchased - illustrating the degree of kids’ ‘pester-power’.

Yes, the manufacturers are to blame to a certain extent.

Do they really need to encourage impulse buying by producing sugar-saturated soft drinks packaged in those huge plastic bottles - thus encouraging even greater consumption?

Do they have to smother every biscuit on offer with chocolate and market them in four-packs - with the added incentive to, ‘Buy one - get one free’ - and so on.

But to blame the food manufacturers and supermarkets for our growing obesity - the cause of debilitating illnesses such as diabetes, heart conditions and some forms of cancer - is, I suggest a complete cop-out.

Surely, it is up to each and every individual to make sensible choices on what and how much they and their off-springs consume?

Gastric bands are becoming as common as the elastic variety - a sure conversation stopper at your next dinner party!

That said, the wastage of perfectly edible foodstuff is nothing less than shameful.

Many families have lost the basic common sense to ascertain whether an item is fit for consumption.

Having bought far too much during the weekly shop - using the ‘plastic’ - items are discarded on a whim - just because the BBF date has been passed by a day or so.

Such thoughtless actions make one wonder how the human race has managed to survive and prosper for so long!​

As a young boy brought up during wartime - and the years of austerity that followed - a small bottle of ‘Tizer’ was a luxury and ice-cream unknown.

Sweets - on the rare occasions you could get them - were rationed to 12 ounces a month. A small bar of chocolate - an unimaginable treat.

But the other side of the coin was that I never recall seeing a severely obese contemporary - when school games were compulsory two or three times a week - come rain, come shine.

With a little more determination and self-discipline, we could all learn lessons from what might be termed, a ‘Ration Book’ life-style.

And we - in affluent Horsham - could provide a positive lead in this direction. Food for thought, perhaps?

ROBERT B. WORLEY

Bourns Court, Ayshe Court Drive,

Horsham

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