A few days after Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of a government crackdown on pornography, the U.K. government has now turned its sights on children’s health.
The government wants to ban packed lunches and bar children from leaving school premises during lunch hours. In addition, the U.K. government has set the budget at £15 million to subsidize meals prepared at school.
A review is being sponsored by the government and led by two founders of the Leon restaurant chain. The committee has urged schools to adopt these restrictions in order to fight childhood obesity. Though 43% of schools have already taken up these prohibitions, the committee argues this number is low. The Department for Education has announced that new standards will be enforced at all new academies and free schools.
Yet efforts at encouraging children’s health already established have confronted a further obstacle: children. Ultimately, neither the government nor the committee nor the parents can force the children to eat their vegetables. As every parent knows, a healthy plate does not a healthy child make.
Furthermore, barring older students from leaving school premises during lunch hours is a greater restriction on activity and lifestyle more than merely diet alone. Students may use this time for exercise, to grab things from home, or merely escape the daily pressure of high school adolescence. Many children’s dietary needs may not be uniform to the subsidized meals.
An apple a day might be enough to keep the doctor away but not enough to keep the government at bay.