Sunday, April 24, 2011

Great British five-a-day flop: Despite £4m campaign, number eating correct amount of fruit and veg FALLS

The Government campaign to persuade people to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day has been a multimillion-pound flop. Official statistics show that the number of people meeting the ‘five-a-day’ target actually fell as the campaign went on.

This is despite the fact that over the past five years the Department of Health has spent more than £4million on marketing and advertising for the campaign – and that the total since the campaign was launched in 2002 will be much more than that.

Critics said yesterday that the money squandered was a clear example of nanny-state failure.

Many local primary care trusts have appointed ‘five-a-day’ advisers and run regional campaigns, including leaflet drops and talks. Billboards have been put up in city centres and signs have gone up in supermarkets and doctors’ surgeries.

But between 2006 and 2009, the percentage of adults eating five portions of fruit and veg a day has fallen from 30 per cent to 26 per cent. This equates to a fall from 12.1million to 10.9million, meaning that more than a million fewer people are eating the recommended amount.

The World Health Organisation claims that fruit and vegetables can prevent cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. But last year a major European study found that five a day had little effect on reducing cancer rates.

Government figures show that more than five million children – almost four out of five – eat less than the recommended amounts. The typical amount the average adult eats has fallen slightly from 3.3 portions a day in 2006 to 3.2 three years later.

The number of adults eating no portions, or less than one portion, a day has gone up by 17 per cent, from 3.4million to 3.9million, over the same period.

Rich households are twice as likely to have five a day as those in the poorest households. While 32 per cent of men and 37 per cent of women in the highest-income households meet the target, only 18 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women in the lowest-income households do. In the poorest households, almost half of men and more than a third of women consumed no fruit other than juice.

Official figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, show the Department of Health has spent £4,167,700 on marketing and advertising for the five-a-day campaign since 2006.

The campaign, which has been endorsed by celebrities such as England cricketers Andrew Flintoff and Ashley Giles, was launched in 2002. But there are no figures to show how much was spent before 2006, so the department’s total could be double the amount for the last five years. And the figures do not include the amount spent by primary care trusts around the country, which will have pushed it up even higher.

Emma Boon, campaign director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘It’s ridiculous that the Department of Health has spent so much on this failed campaign. ‘Taxpayers want their money to be spent on frontline healthcare, not on bossy people telling us what to eat. Hiring staff specifically to tell us to eat fruit and veg is madness, and these non-jobs must go to save taxpayers’ money. ‘Primary care trusts need to look at the outcomes of initiatives like this and stop thinking that putting more taxpayers’ money in is the solution.’


Hunting Happy

There are people on this earth who hunt down happiness to kill for sport. They know who they are. Were it up to them, they’d suck every drop of joy out of life and replace it with misery. They hate individual freedom. They hate liberty. They hate the American dream. Their mission in life is to stifle your right to pursue happy. The fact that some people among us are actually happy drives them around the bend.

Now one of them is suing McDonald's to stop Happy Meals. That’s right; “McDonald's unfairly uses toys to lure children into its restaurants,” cries the Plaintiff, a mother of two obese kids who beg for Happy Meals. “[Their] advertising violates California consumer protection laws,” she whines. She wants protection from the monster corporation that causes her fat kids to beg for food.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group, is representing her. That doesn’t surprise me. No self respecting attorney at law in his right mind would ever take on such a transparently frivolous case with his own money at stake. Only an organization which advocates for human consumption a diet of recycled cardboard would champion this ridiculous cause.

My humble prediction: this turkey will be dismissed; booted out of court.

But wait a second; if the court won’t let her kill Happy, maybe the politicians will. Happy Meals, and other good stuff, have come under scrutiny lately from public health officials, parents and lawmakers concerned with rising childhood obesity and weak anti-obesity efforts from restaurant operators.

You see, these folks, most of who are obese themselves, think it should be up to the restaurants to keep their kids from getting fat. It’s the restaurant’s responsibility. They ignore the known fact that many normal sized little kids want Happy Meals so they can throw away the boring food but keep the toy.

The Plaintiff here admits that she frequently tells her children "no" when they ask for Happy Meals. Of course she does. The problem is that she doesn’t tell them “no” at the grocery store, the ice cream shop, or the 7-11. She doesn’t tell them “no” at the dinner table, for bedtime snacks, or treats between meals.

She doesn’t tell them “no” enough. So now her kids are obese and she wants to blame it all on McDonald's. If she gets her way, your child will never enjoy a Happy Meal. She wants to take toys and fun away from little kids. She wants to kill Happy.


1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

The happy meal story is an old one as far as the news is concerned. Sometime last year if I remember correctly.

As for the UK produce and fruit crap. Well, I guess all the organic freaks are hiding their hears now.
Their 'organic' lifestyle is no screwed! Everything is covered in Japan Nuke fallout!

Then again, radiation does come from radioactive elements(?) mined from the ground, right?