Some time ago I wrote a post that took a crack at obesity and eating habits in The States. I think I may have made reference to questionable habits in New Zealand, but I doubt that I really played the blame game all that strongly with reference to Godzone. I AM SORRY!

Why? Because I am ashamed to say I saw something in my local pub last evening that blew me away! No, it disgusted me.

Friday nights I pop down to my local pub and have a few convivials with a few mates, and we talk a lot of crap and generally put the world to rights. It’s a pleasant interlude and more so because we have finished a week and feel we deserve this bit of ‘social intercourse’ and ‘imbibication’- don’t look it up, just accept it to mean ‘having a few beers’.

Of course it would be unusual for any session at your local to go without some sort of minor incident that ‘ruffles the waters’ and so it was on this night. But ‘ruffling the waters’ just didn’t cover it. It was nothing that 95% of the clientele even noticed but, as I said it disgusted me.

A group of 3 women were having drinks at a table across from me, and that was fine, and while I cast an eye their way very occasionally, there was nothing out of the ordinary about them- if anything they were a wee bit extraordinary in that they were all in good shape and clearly took care of themselves. After a while they were joined by a couple of males and 2 children. Obviously a spouse or two and childer of one of the women (I decided one of the women because of the interaction between the pair rather than any obvious physical similarities- although within a year or two of each other the 14? year old boy was a blob while his 13? year old sister was a stick.)

And so to the disgusting bit.

The Dad of the crew decided it was time for some sustenance so two ‘mixed platters’ were delivered to the table. Mixed platters? Deep fried- chips, fish pieces, sausages, crab-sticks, chicken bites and possibly one or two other ‘yummy things’.

Now!!! without a word of a lie the already overweight and out-of-shape youth spent the next 12-15 minutes it took for the group to finish the platters with one or another of the nibbles or chips in his mouth and/or in his hands. His jaws did NOT stop working for the whole time, and as he delivered whatever he was holding into his mouth he was reaching for the next item. THAT disgusted me. And not only was his eating non-stop, his reaching was wide-ranging, from the platter nearest him to the one waaay over there!

What amazed me was that all of the adults accepted this without the blink of an eye- it seemed that this was perfectly normal (and would go no short way to explaining why the boy was so over-weight.) What bemused me was that the youth dipped everything he ate into the tomato sauce that came with the platters!

I happened to be watching a sports telecast this morning that had ex-president Bill Clinton talking about new initiatives in the US aimed at encouraging ‘healthy eating’ and better food habits. While most of what was proposed in the various initiatives sounded great and they identified where things can best be done (schools, businesses, etc.,) not once did I hear the word ‘parents’ mentioned! I am a bit simple, probably, but I believe any and all solutions to youth problems generally have a very good chance of succeeding if they are either implemented or supported by parents. Children need the guidance of their parents as they need good modelling. I happen to believe putting a full plate of deep-fried food in front of a child and letting them scoff to their heart’s content (but to their heart’s detriment) is niether responsible guidance nor good modelling. Good luck, young man- I hope you live to see your twilight years.


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