Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fruit Fiasco

Hey kids! Here's a cool way to waste £119m!

Nanny's simple-minded attempt to get school children eating more fresh fruit and veg has been a total flop.

The idea was that school kids only eat crisps and sweeties because they aren't given the alternative of fresh fruit and veg. Give them that alternative free, and hey presto, the problem's solved.

So the government set up yet another top-down programme, with loads of money but very little idea how it would actually work in practice.
As it happens, there is an internationally recognised project working in this field, and it's based at Bangor Uni. Called Food Dudes (pic above), it seeks to find practical ways of persuading kids to eat more healthily.

Yes, I know. Food Dudes. How excruciatingly toe curling. But having scanned their website, they do seem to have practical ideas.

Naturally the Department of Health pretty well ignored their recommendations. Instead,despite virtually no evidence a simple hand-out scheme would work- and many good reasons to think it wouldn't- they went ahead with a £119m top-down programme.

Sure enough, it's been a complete failure. One of the Bangor Profs says:

"We could see it was making no difference whatever. There was a decline in uptake overall if anything.

It is extraordinary that many millions of pounds of government money can be spent on schemes without getting a shred of evidence."

Prof, I've got news for you- Big Government does that all the time. Indeed, regular BOM readers will recall the £1bn wasted on the similar, and equally shambolic, Childhood Obesity programme (still continuing despite abject failure).
Nanny rarely knows best.
Except of course, when it comes to wasting our money.

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