Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Guilt free sweets anyone?

On my return from Australia in 2005 I was shocked to see so many obese people on my first trip back into Glasgow in many months. When seeing it every day we seem to become accustomed to the amount of dangerously overweight people in this country. Having been away for a while, I had become unaccustomed. In Australia I can honestly say that I did not notice many obese individuals and sadly, when I did, they were usually British.

But what are Australians doing right that we are not in the UK? Granted, they have the weather that lends itself to outdoor pursuits and have a tradition for many sports. But, there were sweets, crisps and fatty foods on sale the same as there is back in this country. Perhaps they are just more disciplined than us?

When exactly did it all start going so wrong in this country, especially with children? It hasn’t been a million years since I was young, running around my old street, getting myself into scrapes, and there were not even half as many obese children back then. But that’s what is different – I ran around, I wasn’t sitting in all day eating rubbish. Now, of course there are reasons why children are not out so much these days and maybe the marketing of junk food is a lot more aggressive than when I was at that age. Maybe there is even more junk food around.

What is the answer though? That’s where the government and all the health bodies seem to fall down. They are trying to promote healthier eating, they have banned junk food advertising to children, taking the issue very seriously and making some positive steps. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think it’s enough by any means. Do I have the golden answer? No. But I’m not running the country.

I was once again thinking of this issue today due to reading that Cadbury have decided to introduce ‘The Natural Confectionery Company’ products in the UK by the end of the year. An Australian company that Cadbury bought over in 2003, their range of jelly sweets contain no artificial colours or flavourings and are 99% fat free. The company has 18 products in total and has a share of 9% in Australia where its wine gum brand is the sector leader (according to Cadbury). I can actually recall seeing the brand in many a vending machine over there on my travels. Having been launched in Ireland in 2005, the brand has become the second largest bagged-sweet brand in the country. So, now it’s on to the UK.

Providing a lower fat, lower sugar alternative to some of the other sweets on the market will hopefully prove to be as popular here as it has been across the pond. It obviously won’t provide a solution to the problem, but it’ll help chip away at it a little more. It’s unrealistic to expect that vending machines and newsagents will begin filling up on fruit and such, so this would at least provide a better option than what is currently sitting on the sweet shelves.

Have a look out for them when they arrive.

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At 4:47 AM, Blogger Stan Lee said...

Here's a couple of interesting childhood obesity related links:



By the way, I absolutely love Natural Confectionery Co jellies. They make soft drinks in Oz too.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger FishNChimps said...

A friend of mine moved to Oz three years ago. Her opinion was that the climate means that it's an outdoor culture. Not just sport - but spending time outdoors. Combine this with the heat in their spring and summer, and it's unsurprising that there's little inclination to graze at the fridge or fill oneself up with stodge.
Could you imagine that Scottish classic, the Deep Fried Mars Bar taking off over there?

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Lisa Breslin said...

God knows how it ever took off up here either. Never tried it, don't think I'm brave enough.


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