STAR OPINION: Sport scheme is food for thought

Between cheap takeaways, sugary drinks and the rise of ready meals, it's never been easier to get fat.

Monday, 28th March 2016, 6:34 am
Updated Friday, 1st April 2016, 7:10 pm

Nobody really wants to, but time-starved people especially are turning to junk rather than taking the time to make something healthy and wholesome.

It’s no surprise, and I’m as guilty as anyone of throwing something in the microwave after a long shift instead of creating something from fresh.

It’s certainly a problem, but what’s worse is that our bad habits are passing down to the next generation, creating a very real and growing childhood obesity crisis which is hitting our health service hard.

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But just how do you tackle the obesity epidemic? If you’re George Osborne, the answer is to whack a tax on sugary drinks in a bid to discourage shoppers from guzzling so many calories.

Whatever you think of that policy, the fact that more money will in turn be spent on school sport is welcome, because getting kids active is surely the answer.

That’s why The Totley Pharmacy Project must be applauded. The partnership between the chemist and Sheffield United Community Foundation is bringing weekly sessions of health advice and sporting activities to three Sheffield primary schools in the area - you can read up on it over on page 16.

That knowledge could be crucial in waging the war on young waistlines.

If youngsters know how much fat is dripping from their burgers, or why the big red calorie label on so much of their food is making them tubby, they might think twice. Good on Sheffield United and Totley Pharmacy for pitching in and making an effort to turn the tide on obesity.

Now we need more. Regardless of the sugar tax, the government should be prioritising investment into more sport and exercise for every school child, not just in those in primary schools.

That in turn will help take the burden off Sheffield’s GP services as surgeries nationwide suffer a ‘crisis’ - read up on that over on page 5.

Between increasing patient demand, complex health needs and older people with long term health problems, the challenge facing GPs surgeries has never been greater.

Sheffield’s Clinical Commissioning Group has come up with a new strategy, but if young people can be encouraged to be more healthy and grow up healthier, that in turn is sure to mean less demand on overburdened health services, and fewer chronic conditions like diabetes to treat in the long term.