Are we any more obsessed with health matters than in the past? Resoundingly the answer is yes. This does not mean though that the results from this obsession are positive – indeed, for all our attention, affectation and concern – in key areas we have never been so unhealthy.
This Blog occasionally touches on big issues and this is one of those areas that doesn’t lend itself to an easy answer. Why with all the sophistication at our disposal are more children being hospitalised from second hand smoke than ever before? Why are obesity levels unprecedented? Why are heart disease and illnesses related to physical inactivity actually on the rise in our image conscious and sport fixated nation. Appearance has greater sway and yet more than at any time in the recent past, is this appearance built on slight foundations.
Bill Clinton several years back pointed to the fact that this was the first generation where the children could realistically be expected to have shorter life expectancies than their parents….fast food, the sedentary lifestyles that accompany the demise of physically demanding labour and the high toll of the “me” culture – all contributing to a society where image dominated over substance.
A ban on smoking in public places comes into effect in England in July 2007. Schools are being shamed into pressing their controlling Councils to allocate more money to school meals; schools themselves belatedly recognise a lack in the equality of academic outcomes between girls and boys has some root in the limited time given to physical play for boys – their natural adventure being channelled instead into disruption in the classroom. Slowly we are making the case for substance over style, but appearances still matter.