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AIBU to think that Change 4 Life is a load of rubbish and a complete waste of government money?

(16 Posts)
JemimaMuddledUp Tue 26-Jul-11 18:36:12

I have been sent the Change 4 Life Summer Pack. About 40 A4 pages of patronising rubbish. Apparently I should feed my children fruit! Not give them sugary cereals! Not give them crisps and fizzy pop! Wow, I never would have known... hmm

My children eat pretty healthily. They have the odd packet of crisps for school trips etc, takeaways now and then, sometimes a homemade cake at weekends and an ice cream if we go to the beach or the cinema. But in general its fruit for snacks, porridge for breakfast, home cooked meals etc. I don't buy ready meals, biscuits, crisps, fizzy pop etc.

But even if I fed them nothing but nuggets and chips, crisps and biscuits, coco pops and lemonade, would I actually pay any attention to these leaflets? I doubt it! So what is Change 4 Life actually achieving? Does it really change parents' attitudes? If it doesn't, then isn't it just a big waste of money?

BTW if anyone can provide statistics showing that these things actually do work then I will take it all back and eat a moderate portion of low fat and sugar humble pie grin

AuntieMonica Tue 26-Jul-11 18:44:39

biscuit anyone?

maybe you do feed your kids a perfectly balanced diet hmm but a quick look around any shopping centre will reassure you someone, somewhere is not doing the same.

AuntieMonica Tue 26-Jul-11 18:47:02

sorry, posted instead of previewed blush

honestly though, programmes like this do have an effect, it's too early to see the results IMO the results of a 'bad' diet in childhood are not always evident until adulthood, but i know of a few kids who have brought leaflets home and re-educated their parents in healthy eating.


JemimaMuddledUp Tue 26-Jul-11 18:49:47

I didn't say that I fed them a perfectly balanced diet (I haven't resoted to taking carrot sticks to the cinema with me as is suggested in the pack!) and I am well aware that plenty of people do feed their children rubbish.

But I find it hard to believe that a parent who feeds their children ready meals and chocolate every day is going to read the Change 4 Life pack and suddenly change their ways? Surely it isn't that simple?

LineRunner Tue 26-Jul-11 18:50:45

I'm in sympathy about the waste of money on leaflets when frontline staff who actually DO stuff are losing their jobs.

oldraver Tue 26-Jul-11 18:52:21

I got some freebies via my Mum quite a while ago. There was a questionaire you could fill in and they would send you something to advise you were you were going wrong on healthy eating.

I was filling it in for fun but it took no account of the fact you may of chosen to eat differently out of choice rather than ignorance as you havn't been told yet by the Government or you need to alter your childs diet due to allergies/intollerences

Ie ..I choose NOT to give my child sugar free items, but be carefull what he does eat with sugar in

JemimaMuddledUp Tue 26-Jul-11 18:53:01

Fair play then, if they do have an effect. Perhaps its just the parents that I know who fall into two camps, either they feed their children healthily already or they ignore the campaigns. I suppose if it is getting through to the children and they are re-educating their parents then that is a good thing.

It is like the Bookstart packs, I always wondered how many people signed up to use the library regularly as a result of them that wouldn't have actually done anyway?

But I'm quite happy to be proved wrong.

mrsbiscuits Tue 26-Jul-11 18:53:40

I haven't seen the pack so can't comment but I am guessing that those people who are likely to read it are the ones that are already looking after their childrens health........ and those that don't would probably just use it to wrap their chips in anyway ! ;)

OrangeHat Tue 26-Jul-11 18:53:43

I'm not convinced either OP

The vast vast majority of people know what they should be doing. Whether that's what they eat/feed their children, how much alcohol they drink, how much exercise they (don't) do, etc etc etc.

When people don't do the things they know they are supposed to do, there are a range of reasons.

Time, motivation, money, circumstance, access, and so on. To get people to change, these are the things that need to be addressed, but these are big things, and a leaflet is unlikely to do it.

For the extreme minority of people who have somehow entirely missed these messages, and genuinely don't know that living on coke, chips and cake is bad for you, a leaflet won't help either, as their problems also extend further than a leaflet will fix.

So in summary YANBU grin

AuntieMonica Tue 26-Jul-11 18:54:19

No, you're right, it's NOT that simple...but how do you suggest it's done then?

While fat jokes are still acceptable in our society, where it's still treated as a joke, people will not take weight seriously sad

yet it's killing many people, very slowly, but surely.

and i am fat.

JemimaMuddledUp Tue 26-Jul-11 18:55:22

Line Runner - that is exactly what I mean. Distributing these packs must cost a fortune.

ilovemountains Tue 26-Jul-11 18:57:51

Yanbu, but yabu about bookstart! 80% of bookstart funding is non-government (publishing companies, book shops etc)

AlpinePony Tue 26-Jul-11 19:01:06


It's also pretty fecking obvious that anyone 'requiring' a brochure will not read/act upon it.

OrangeHat Tue 26-Jul-11 19:07:37

I think things like this are often action for the sake of being seen to be doing something, and to justify budgets. To look good for the bosses/funders.

I have never seen anything to say this sort of thing works. What does work (individual targeted assistance for as long as it takes) is far to expensive.

It's like the BF thing. Yes that's a good example. What would really make a difference to BF rates is good, available post-natal support, on the wards and at home. However this is very expensive. So what you actually get is loads of leaflets when you are pg, and sod all support with feeding once you actually have it.

So that's what I think of all of this stuff.

gillybean2 Tue 26-Jul-11 19:17:16

I stopped putting a packet of crisps in ds's lunch box every day after reading one of those kind of leaflets that said you should have a max of 3 packets a week. I thought 1 a day was fine up till then!

When I mentioned it to some of the other mum's at school, that I was surprised at that, most of them hadn't read the leaflet at all and didn't know about the 3 packets a week suggestion either.

I also found the co-op bag for life, whoch shows what a portion of fruit/veg actually looks like (ie handful of grapes), 2 satsumas etc very useful in working out (and showing ds) what a portion actually is considered to be.

Small steps maybe. But if even a few people pick up one or two things to change then that has to be positive doesn't it?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 26-Jul-11 19:27:39

There should be VAT on all foods sold with more than ten ingredients on the packet.
That way, raw ingredients (including butter and olive oil) stay cheap but processed foods become more expensive.
There should also be vat on sugar (in all forms) at production / import
There should also be a 50% Import duty on Palm Oil (glazing agent on raisins FFS)
That way food will rise again to its true cost (we are currently mortgaging the environment for cheap food)
And those with time might find it cheaper to cook again.

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