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Speaker: Are there opportunities within the Government’s childhood obesity plan?

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  • Danielle,

    I'm quite a succinct person: I prefer to boil down arguments to the bare bones. So essentially, what Rosemary and Katherine are saying is (and please do correct me if I have this wrong) yes, this is probably structural and complicated and to do with poverty and inequality and all sorts of other things BUT (and here is where the hand-wavy part comes in) we should all stop thinking about it so much and tell poor people off for not doing stuff "right" instead.

    You'll pardon me if I find that solution less than satisfying.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Danielle,

    Your ideas Danielle, for addressing the obesity and diabetes epidemic?

    Your ideas on preventing serious tooth decay in preschoolers?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Wait. I thought you guys were telling me to stop thinking so much? You can't have it both ways.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing. Good intentions don't necessarily make for good results - see Homeopaths Without Borders. What's lacking in this discussion so far is any perspective from any of the targets of this effort - what they think would help them. And I don't mean the salvation narratives of people who have lost a lot of weight, I mean people who are currently wondering whether they have a health problem and what they could do to fix it without making the rest of their lives unpleasant. I'd have thought that was a basic principle of health interventions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Danielle,

    Nope. BUT we should change the government and get one that actually does something, like taxing the shit out of crap. I pointed this out early on in the thread. I see you didn't comment one way or the other on that.

    Who'd a thought homemade pasta sauce could become so controversial, eh?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to B Jones,

    Sadly, I don't currently consider this the kind of space where anyone affected would want to contribute their perspective.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Danielle,

    Wait. I thought you guys were telling me to stop thinking so much? You can’t have it both ways.

    Deconstructing is not thinking - it's analysing, then criticising - and in this case, it seems to me, for the sake of it.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    BUT we should change the government and get one that actually does something, like taxing the shit out of crap. I pointed this out early on in the thread. I see you didn’t comment one way or the other on that.

    So, you want to make food more expensive for poor people?

    Who’d a thought homemade pasta sauce could become so controversial, eh?

    You mean, who'd have thought policing people's spending and eating could be so controversial?

    I've been hand-to-mouth poor, with kids to feed. I know the cheapest way to fuel hungry people is hot chips. You don't fix that by making the chips more expensive. How about giving people enough money to be able to eat properly?

    (My family doesn't get shamed for their food choices, of course, because our genes make us tall and slim with a fast metabolism. So we're clearly healthy.)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Danielle,

    Wait. I thought you guys were telling me to stop thinking so much? You can’t have it both ways.

    Okay.

    Let's. Do. Nothing.

    SNAFU.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    I see you didn’t comment one way or the other on that.

    That's because I think it's complicated; if you tax "crap", what else can people eat? Will other, healthier foods be forced to become correspondingly cheaper? Will primary caregivers be given time off work to cook healthier meals for kids? At what point do you allow for the fact that sometimes people are fallible and sometimes basic humanity means that a kid is allowed hot chips?

    Who’d a thought homemade pasta sauce could become so controversial, eh?

    I love to cook; I am half-Cajun and we have great (if unhealthy) food traditions. I make all the meals in my house. But it takes time, and you get sore feet, and managing to hide all the vegetables the kids just won't. fucking. eat. inside a rissole or something is complicated, and I've finally handed over my dinners five days a week to Nadia Lim so I don't have to do it any more. But I can AFFORD My Food Bag, and I have the time to cook those meals, because I don't work full time. If you want a varied, healthy diet for several people in a household, it's quite a difficult operation, and if you work all day, and you barely make ends meet as it is... it just seems that we're blaming specific *people* for something really shitty that neoliberalism and capitalism have created. Food isn't about "personal responsibility": food is political.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    You're giving me shit for trying to be a little more understanding about why people choose the foods they do? Really?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Deconstructing is not thinking – it’s analysing, then criticising – and in this case, it seems to me, for the sake of it.

    I'm not doing anything "for the sake of it". I'm perfectly sincere when I say that your approach to this issue makes me really uncomfortable.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Who'd a thought homemade pasta sauce could become so controversial, eh?

    You also mentioned delicious chocolate cake. Coincidentally, I made two of those last night between comments, and in doing so got a reminder about how much butter and sugar goes into them. Nobody here has so far mentioned the way baked goods are fetishized by middle class women in particular, when they're arguably just as calorie-laden as working class treats like fizzy and takeaways. There are tv shows celebrating baking, and pinterest pages, and competitive cake decorating efforts, and facebook memes about single serving microwave chocolate cakes and so forth. The craft and skill that goes into them doesn't add any nutritional value, but it does seem to get it off the hook for awareness campaigns and general do-gooding.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Let’s. Do. Nothing.

    I have made constructive suggestions. Perhaps you'd like to be constructive also.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Let’s. Do. Nothing.

    As opposed to This. Is. Something.?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to JacksonP,

    How much sugar they feed their kids is so irrrlevant, to punish them for it is in my opinion its own form of abuse.

    But it is not irrelevant - too much sugar is a killer - a slow one, with a whole lot of misery along the way, but a killer. How many carrots can you buy for the price of a 2L Coke? What's the price of a bag of sultanas versus a couple of candy bars? Those are choices we all make regardless of income/wealth. I know, because when I was a kid my mother made them. I recall feeling hard done by at the time - a reminder if you like of my poverty compared to my peers. I remember being embarrassed in the school lunchroom - unwrapping my homemade piece of cake inside my lunch bag as opposed to taking it out and unwrapping it on the table in front of my friends - because they had the store packaged goods with the colourful printed wrappers on their sweets. I recall telling my mother this and pleading for the store bought stuff. Did she sympathise with me - no. Did she criticise me for being selfish - not appreciating what I had in comparison to many others in the world - yes. Did she point out how hard she worked to buy the ingredients to bake that cake - yes. Did I feel sad/bad/ungrateful after this conversation - yes. Did I learn something useful - yes.

    None of this small lesson in life was irrelevant.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Oh well. I can see this thread will never escape from the Middle-Class-Healthy-Food-Bad-Parenting Vortex. We should all get out while we still have our sanity.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to B Jones,

    baked goods are fetishized by middle class women in particular

    LOL.

    My chocolate cake has no butter – 1/2 cup of vegetable oil instead. 2 cups of sugar – yes. No, it’s not particularly healthy food but it’s an extremely cheap treat weight/ volume wise if compared to say, candy bars or a store bought cake.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I think we should all post our favourite baking recipes and see which of us can outdo the others in healthy food virtuousness. Someone could make a Listener cover story out of it.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I know the cheapest way to fuel hungry people is hot chips.

    Nope. It's the easiest way.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to B Jones,

    I've noticed this too. Bake it, just don't eat it??

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Clayton,

    Reform of the Employment Relations Act, in particular the provisions around zero-hours agreements would provide some small security of work hours to vulnerable people who are employed.

    More public housing affordable to those on benefits or in low-paying employment would give greater security of accommodation.

    Prioritising pedestrian and cycle access to roads leading to schools would enable more children to travel there safely and actively.

    Social welfare reform in which people's access to continuing basic income is not contingent on meeting ever-shifting targets or staying out of domestic partnerships would provide further stability of accommodation.

    All these would make a difference to individuals' ability to source and prepare food for their families and for their children to safely access ordinary physical activity, and none involves increasing food scarcity for vulnerable people or their families or evaluating individuals' current and future health based on how they present today.

    I sincerely believe that we shouldn't let the low-hanging fruit of choice rhetoric distract us from the extent to which things are the way they are because of political change - initially radical, subsequently gradual - over the past thirty years. The most proximate explanations may not be the best, nor the most proximate solutions.

    Pip Adam's short story Zero Hours does a far better job than this post in articulating this situation for friends, neighbours, ourselves.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Megan Clayton,

    Pip Adam's short story Zero Hours does a far better job than this post in articulating this situation for friends, neighbours, ourselves.

    Thank you for that. Someone pointed me to it the other day, it's a superb piece of work.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    If there's one thing that bugs me about the healthy eating movement it's the success of marketers to brand their product as healthy, regardless of how truthful that is. Light olive oil - just as high calorie as any other kind of oil or fat. Fruit juice - full of sugar, sometimes more than fizzy drink. Sugar alternatives like honey or coconut sugar or whatnot - dude, it's all still glucose, fructose and sucrose. Sultanas are very high in sugar, and sticky so they keep applying it to your teeth over a longer period. Sweetened yoghurt, similar. There are many more people who think fruit juice is healthy for kids than there are people who stick Fanta in babies' bottles.

    If the problem is total energy intake, switching to other energy sources doesn't necessarily fix the problem.

    If you bake it but don't eat it yourself, that's called externalising the costs :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Emma Hart,

    BUT we should change the government and get one that actually does something, like taxing the shit out of crap. I pointed this out early on in the thread. I see you didn’t comment one way or the other on that.

    So, you want to make food more expensive for poor people?

    So, is wine and beer from the supermarket food?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

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