Education not Prohibition! June 14 2007

School Tuck Shops and Healthy Food

Press Release 14 June 2007

History has shown us that prohibition doesn't work. While the latest moves to improve nutrition among our young people and tackle burgeoning obesity are laudable, they are destined to fail because they do nothing to change attitudes among young people and their families. What is needed is education.

Health practitioner, Tamarin Pigneguy, believes that grass roots nutrition is as important to learn as the other basic skills - writing, reading and mathematics - that are taught at school.

"With rates of childhood obesity and diabetes rising sharply and reported to be the next epidemics in this country, learning about how to care for our bodies has never been more relevant than now," she says.

"Imagine," she says, "knowing how your body works and what to eat to keep yourself healthy. What difference would this kind of knowledge make in your life?" 

Imagine children having access to this essential information and applying it daily. Tamarin asks what difference would this knowledge make to the future health of  New Zealand's children? Access to such knowledge could easily make drastic measures - such as the Government plan to force schools to ban unhealthy foods from tuckshops - unnecessary. Healthy food does not have to be more expensive than junk food.

After all, if our young people were empowered to make better choices for themselves, market forces would win out and there would be a quite natural evolution from the current stocks of pies, cream doughnuts and potato chips to healthier items like salad sandwiches and fruit.

And just how do our school students get this information? From a recently released book, Feed Me Right, written by Tamarin and her mother Dee Pigneguy, an ex-teacher and long-time proponent of natural and organic food.

Feed Me Right provides parents, teachers and our young people with a practical, simple and safe way of attaining and maintaining a healthy and happy body. It explains the nutritional requirements of the human body, investigates the digestive tract and all its inner workings, and examines the impact of various food groups on the health and growth of the body, and covers issues like insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity. 

"In short," says publisher Sue Claridge of Papawai Press, "it provides our children with information about food and how it impacts their bodies and their health - presented in an easy-to-read format, and supported by brilliant, colourful and quirky illustrations. Feed Me Right enables parents and children to make better food choices." 

Damian Kristoff, naturopath and presenter of TV's Down Size Me, agrees saying in his foreword to the book:

"Feed Me Right presents the nuts and bolts of nutrition, leading the reader through a journey of discovery and an exploration of our body's relationship with food. In fact, I believe this book is the most comprehensive guide to health and wellness that has been developed for adolescents and their parents. Certainly, Feed Me Right deserves to be taught in schools throughout New Zealand..."