Newsletter Number 30

You can’t escape it, you can’t deny it, us Brits are getting after and fatter. We’re not quite as big as our American cousins but we certainly top the European Charts.

As adults, we only have ourselves to blame but it’s the children that seriously worry me.

I read a report a couple of days ago that Children as young as 12 could be given stomach shrinking surgery on the NHS. That’s right, the Government is so concerned about the levels of obesity in the UK that youngsters will be able to have their stomachs stapled once they reach puberty! This comes from our old friend the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE)

To be fair, this is only a suggestion by NICE and the government does have targets in place that are supposed to halt the increase in obesity in children under 11 by 2010. However, the National Audit Office has stated that these targets will not be met because there is no clear leadership or accountability for achieving them by the policy makers. No change there then.

To me, it’s simple. Kids need, healthy nutritious food, they need to cut down on junk food and microwave dinners and they need excercise – lots of it. A few extra minutes preparation time is essential to avoid obesity

I do sympathise with some parents. These days you can’t always let the kids play out safely. Busy work schedules and long commutes mean that children spend most of their free time in front of the TV or playing video games! The lack of time also results in ‘quick fix’ microwave feeding that pumps the kids full of hydrogenated fats, salt, sugar and dangerous additives - but hang on a second we are talking about our children here, not a neglected pet.

Surely parents care enough to make sacrifices in their own lives to get kids exercising and to prepare a decent meal. I don’t care if they say they can’t cook – cooking is straightforward. If a bunch of celebreties on Hell’s Kitchen can cook Michelin star food with just a few days training then anyone can cook a decent meal.

There are so many quick and simple ways to prepare fresh and healthy foods (there are thousands of books on the subject). I know it takes a little more time, but if we plan our day well enough it’s very worthwhile. I also know that some kids are just not into health food, and in my opinion it is because they don’t know any different. With a few simple rules kids can be educated to eat what is good for them. They don’t need to cut out junk food completely but the majority of what they eat should be healthy. Here are my 7 golden rules for ensuring that ‘Little Johnny’ will follow a healthy diet:

1. If children see you enjoying healthy meals, they are more likely to want to follow suit.

2. Decide on your food rules and then stick to your guns over them. Don't give way to pester power. You will need the strength of Samson to begin with, but stay focused on your long term strategy.

3. Break the 'canteen' mentality at home and begin making one meal for everyone. It will cause havoc to start with. Complaints will be vocal and there will be tantrums. Routine however is something children thrive on. If there is only one meal on offer and no snacks as alternatives, they will eventually begin to eat the evenings meal.

4. To help in the process, you can involve children in planning the week's meals.

5. Clear out the junk. If the cupboards are full of the stuff, children will think that it's OK and will find a way of eating it.

6. There is no need to ban chocolate, cakes, biscuits and crisps, but keep them as treats and bring them into the home rather than having them there full time.

7. Finally, don’t forget to get ‘little Johnny’ out and about for a run around in the garden or down the park – it’ll work up a great appetite.

As a nation, we have to do something about it and it must happen soon. If not, we’ll have a health epidemic on our hands that will cripple the NHS for the next 50 Years – and that’s no exaggeration. If you don’t have kids in you immediate family where you can make a difference at least make a few lifestyle changes yourself whether it be a change to your diet or just a little more exercise.

Above all stay happy and health. Till next time.

Doctor Bruce

Author's Bio: 

Hello, my name is Dr Bruce Caine, but everyone calls me Dr Bruce.

So who am I? - A sixty four year old retired GP, who is quietly losing his boyish good looks, but with dignity. I’m married to Maria, who is an ex-nurse and hails from the mountains just outside Madrid. In fact that’s where we live now, in the village of her youth, surrounded by mountains and beautiful countryside. When the opportunity of early retirement came along, there was only one place in our minds, and here we are!

Children? Just the two, but believe me that’s been expensive enough. Samantha, our thirty five year old, followed in her fathers footsteps and is currently enjoying her second year working for Medicin Sans Frontiers, travelling the world.

My thirty two year old, James, is the exact opposite. He has exhibited an incredible talent for ‘floating’ through life and was so laid back that we thought he’d get a job as a luxury sofa. Finally his genuine creative edge kicked in, and he now works in advertising.

I retired just over a year ago and the first six months were great – moving over here and doing all the things we’ve always wanted to do. But now, the truth is – I’ve started to miss being in practice and being involved with people. So, that’s why I started The People’s Doctor - a weekly newsletter all about general health matters.

Another bonus to this is that now I’m not constrained by NHS protocol and can reveal the real facts about the medical industry. Over the years I’ve grown to deeply mistrust the large drug companies and they do not always enjoy what I have to say! So, a lot of the advice I give is based on alternative and natural treatments that deal with the problem without the multitude of side effects conventional medicines often produce.

I still read all the medical journals and I subscribe to all the major medical websites and I even attend the odd conference – so I can bring you the very latest breakthroughs, treatments and information on a whole range of health problems.

As you can see, I write in plain, straightforward English – I won’t baffle you with medical jargon – just give you the straight fact’s and wherever possible, I even hope to make you laugh – which is a wonderful medicine in itself.

I very much want my experience and opinion to help you to help yourself. Time has taught me that not all ailments are best served by a trip to the doctor’s surgery.

So if you’d like to know more, and have me entertain and inform you each week, then click the subscribe button below and I’ll send my weekly e-mail to your in-box.

Take care of yourself.