Comment

Jane Bates: What the sugar tax can’t change

Despite the best efforts of government and healthcare staff, sometimes the message doesn’t get through

Despite the best efforts of government and healthcare staff, sometimes the message doesn’t get through


Picture: iStock

One thing I love about nurses is the way we don’t judge people. Patients come to us at their most vulnerable, trusting us with secrets they haven’t even disclosed to their nearest and dearest, and we never condemn. 

But I recently saw something that made me bristle with disapproval, like a maiden aunt at an orgy. 

The weather was perfect, the setting idyllic and, after a lengthy hike, we stopped for a picnic – a banana and some chocolate truffles, if you must know. Hardly an exemplary diet, but a family beside us in the car park made me feel positively virtuous.  

Sitting outside their camper van, they were tucking into the most enormous burgers, dripping with mayonnaise and other gloop.

The parents, children and even the dog were immensely overweight. All that beauty around them and their attention was focused on their electronic devices.

My companion is not usually observant – if there had been a group of New Forest ponies sitting around that table eating calamari and discussing the weather, it would hardly have figured on his radar. But on this occasion, he was horrified.  

Screen break

Those children should be playing dodgeball or trekking through the countryside, he said, not stuffing their faces with fatty food and staring at screens.

There is so much discourse going on in schools about healthy eating and exercise, with the media, politicians and the NHS making childhood obesity a major focus of attention. The sugar tax, which came into force in April, had been on the news that very day.

Yet still the message is not getting across. And you get the feeling that, for some people, maybe it never will. 


Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 
 

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs