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#1 Mon 05 Mar 07 11:18am

alan_p

Member
Member since Mon 19 Feb 07

Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

Just thought I would point out an issue that has been in the press here in Edinburgh, surrounding my son's primary school.

We have a fairly progressive new headtecher who decided to ban sweets and crisps from the school premises after consultation with parents and the school board. There was an 82% vote in favour of the ban amongst parents. However, one disgruntled parent made front page headlines in the local paper, with several similarly worded articles to follow. Terms like "Jamie Oliver inspired paranoia" were bandied about. I managed to get a letter published yesterday to present the other side of the story. Here are the links to the 2 main articles:

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/index … =286032007

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/co … rmat=print

and my letter:

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/le … =340992007

Alan.

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#2 Mon 05 Mar 07 2:08pm

oliviascotland

Forum champ
From Scotland
Member since Wed 06 Apr 05

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

I missed out on this, but Mr Friend sounds to be very sensible.  Well done for your balanced response.

Down in East Lothian (where I hail from), the emphasis is also on healthy eating and sweets and crisps, etc are discouraged (although not banned outright) to the extent that I had to obtain a form from Sick Kids allowing my daughter to follow a (ghastly) special diet for 12 weeks, to enable her to be tested for coeliac disease.  I think that Mr Friend should be supported whole-heartedly for wanting the best for his pupils.

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#3 Wed 07 Mar 07 2:52am

Goldberry

Member
Member since Tue 06 Feb 07

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

Alan, I think I agree with everything in your letter to the editor, but I am concerned about being "nannied".

You sensibly mentioned that growing children need a certain amount of fat in their diet.

In New Zealand this year, it is about to become illegal to sell full-cream milk in schools.

Now I agree with them banning Coke, but feel that it is ridiculous not to let growing children drink proper milk.

However, if I let them "nanny" me on Coke, unfortunately it is the thin end of the wedge - they will then go ahead and make it impossible to get access to full-fat milk.

Soon I will not be able to buy it in supermarkets either: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/sto … d=10427185

We cannot give too much power to the "nutrition police" or we will cause ourselves a lot of problems...  sad

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#4 Wed 07 Mar 07 10:22am

alan_p

Member
Member since Mon 19 Feb 07

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

Goldberry,

I agree with you. Although I am confident that's not whats going on in this case.

I think the decision not to sell full cream milk in schools is a mistake. Why do we have to muck about with perfectly natural foodstuffs when there are plenty of unnatural products we can tackle first? Even then, lets look at the quantity consumed rather than changing the natural product itself.

I will only buy full cream milk and ideally unhomogenised when I can get it. I am a bit suspicious of homogenised milk as some studies have suggested the changes in the fat molecule that results from the process could have cardio-vascular implications. Others have concluded that's not the case, but I like to err on the side of caution, and frankly, why do it in the first place?

I can't help thinking that semi-skimmed/skimmed milk has been created as a marketing ploy by manufacturers, in order to salve the consciences of the over-eating, so that they continue to buy more TV dinners. Or am I being way too cynical?

I think it was perfectly valid for the school to draw a line in the sand for sweets, crisps, coke etc., but I would certainly voice my concern if they banned full cream milk.

Last edited by alan_p (Wed 07 Mar 07 10:47am)

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#5 Thu 08 Mar 07 8:05pm

ANN

Forum champ
From North Carolina
Member since Thu 15 Jul 04

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

Hi Alan,  Thanks for the links.  It looks like the boy on the right is headed for trouble already with his weight. 

Welcome to the forums!! smile

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#6 Thu 08 Mar 07 9:33pm

Goldberry

Member
Member since Tue 06 Feb 07

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

Alan I totally agree with you and also buy unhomogenised milk when I can.

You might be interested in what Arran said in the "Time to worry about obesity and health" thread:
http://forum.jamieoliver.com/viewtopic. … 28&p=3

***

    Arran wrote:

    The reason the government wants schools to change to semi-skimmed milk is because it's an easy target with a large psychological effect. The practical effects will be insignificant because children only drink 1/3 pint of milk a day and the amount of fat it contains is only a tiny fraction of the total daily intake even with a low fat healthy diet. In fact a small amount of saturated fat is needed to maintain a healthy diet.

    My school serves homogenised whole milk and almost all of the children drink it. There is a possibility that fewer children will drink the milk if the school changes to semi-skimmed. Lots of children have started school saying they don't like milk - presumably because they have semi-skimmed at home - but later find they enjoy drinking whole milk. If fewer children drink milk then they could start filling up on unhealthy snacks at breaktime.

    The worst type of fat is hydrogenated vegetable fat which is heavily saturated and a harmful substance. Are schools making any efforts to remove hydrogenated vegetable fats from their menus? A pudding made with hydrogenated vegetable fat is less healthy than a portion of chips fried in mazola, but of course we all know what the government and parents want to clamp down on.

***

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#7 Thu 08 Mar 07 9:36pm

Goldberry

Member
Member since Tue 06 Feb 07

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

I know it is perfectly valid to ban sweets, crisps & Coke, but if the law saying you can't go round doing that was not there, it would be a lot harder to stop people banning full cream milk, no matter how much of a fuss you made (you would unfortunately be in the minority, like me).

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#8 Thu 08 Mar 07 10:16pm

alan_p

Member
Member since Mon 19 Feb 07

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

Goldberry wrote:

I know it is perfectly valid to ban sweets, crisps & Coke, but if the law saying you can't go round doing that was not there, it would be a lot harder to stop people banning full cream milk, no matter how much of a fuss you made (you would unfortunately be in the minority, like me).

Sure, if school policy is decided on a central goverment basis like in your case, thats obviously a bad thing. I think when a policy decision is made for an individual school by the parent council/forum, and in this case a poll of all parents then its fair enough. If massive numbers of parents came out in favour of banning full cream I guess it would just be something I would reluctantly accept and provide full cream at home. I can't see it happening on that basis though. The parents I talk to tend to agree, but then, those are the parents I talk to generally!

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#9 Fri 09 Mar 07 1:26am

amberpamba

Forum champ
Occupation Registered nurse
From Australia
Member since Thu 24 Jun 04

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

Why do kids "need" full cream milk? Low fat milk has no less calcium, and does still contain fat.
I do agree that banning full cream milk is rediculous, but if this milk is at home then I dont see it being a problem if they dont have it at school. I give them points for making an effort though, as we are breeding an overweight society, and changes need to start somewhere.

I was bought up on powdered skim milk. My parents never ever bought full cream milk.

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#10 Fri 09 Mar 07 4:55am

Goldberry

Member
Member since Tue 06 Feb 07

Re: Edinburgh headteacher vilified for banning junk.

Amberpamba, there are a few good things about milk fat, like fat-soluble vitamins and conjugated linoleic acid (which prevents cancer). It may also help prevent heart disease and has been shown to prevent the occurrence and symptoms of asthma and allergies.

This is all in milk fat, so if you drink skim milk you are giving your body less access to all these goodies.

I agree that it doesn't matter all that much if kids can't drink proper milk at school, any more than if they had to drink only water. It is more the message that some parents are getting which concerns me. In the US, there was a study showing 300 documented cases of good parents believing all the low-fat hype and unfortunately malnourishing their children. Kids should be getting at least 30% of their calories as fat (US and Canadian Pediatric Society).

Re an overweight society, saturated fat accounts on average for 13% of our daily energy intake, a lower proportion than a decade ago. (Baker Heart Research Institute Melbourne, http://baker.edu.au/Content.aspx?topicID=651). Obesity has doubled or tripled over that time. So I would say logically, that means saturated fat is not the problem.

In recent studies people who drank full-fat milk were protected against weight gain and low-fat drinkers continued to gain weight at the normal rate. In another study on "milk" consumption (read: low fat milk) the kids who drank the most gained the most weight, so the authors advised kids to limit the amount of milk they drank. They did not consider that maybe they would have had a different result if they tried full fat!

I am not a scientist so I do not know the reason for these results, only that that is what has been reported. Nutritionists explain them away by saying the people drinking full-fat milk must have been doing more exercise or had a better overall diet. What they do not explain is why full-fat drinkers would have a so-much-better lifestyle in such overwhelming numbers.

It is the opposite of what I would expect as most of my friends who are health-conscious and exercise drink low fat milk!

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