School meals: a new diet of reason
Congratulations to the Food Standards Agency for ensuring that the new government guidelines on school meals are sensible, realistic and – perhaps most importantly – avoid the prescriptive moralising that has characterised so much health promotion in the past.
SIRC has repeatedly warned health promotion bodies about the dangers of banning or attempting to restrict consumption of so-called 'unhealthy' foods – particularly where children are concerned, as this creates a counter-productive 'forbidden-fruit effect', whereby children's desire for the banned or restricted product is increased, and they are likely to consume much larger quantities outside the restricted context.
SIRC has also issued several warnings about the role of over-zealous health promotion – specifically over-emphasis on 'healthy eating' and weight control – in the development of eating disorders among young girls.
We are pleased to see that both of these factors have been taken into account by the FSA in formulating the new guidelines on school meals – an indication of the clear-headed and rational approach that Professor John Krebs has brought to government policy on nutrition.