by SHANKARI CHANDRAN
My daughter’s school band recently performed well at a concert and as a treat, the band was thrown a little party today. A few of us mums got together and baked (in my case bought) the treats: cupcakes, lamingtons and Anzac biscuits. Interestingly none of us suggested we bring a fruit platter, although I’m sure if we presented the children with nothing but fruit, they would have swarmed down like a plague of locusts and polished off the fruit as quickly as they did the cupcakes.
The concept of “treating” is an interesting one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against it. I have a Costco-sized box of Oreos in the garage which I bring out as a treat for our four children (or as a behavioural control mechanism when necessary).
But after reading about the Gutsy Challenge run by the Gastro-Intestinal Cancer Institute, I’ve been asking myself how hard would it be to replace the questionable biscuit dipper and even more questionable “cheese” dip, with carrot sticks in the school lunch box instead. I’ve been asking myself why I don’t treat my children to a healthier life, instead of an Oreo.
Gastro-intestinal cancers (cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas and bowel) are the most common form of cancer. GI cancer affects 20,000 Australians each year and kills 26 of us every day. Everything you put in your mouth affects your Gastro Intestinal System and diet as well as other lifestyle factors increases the risk of these cancers.
In Australia , 1.8 million primary school aged children are either overweight or obese. I’m not trying to scare you. I’m not trying to scare me. I’m just trying to remind myself that I have an opportunity to teach my children some healthy eating habits from a young age that might improve the quality of their lives and reduce the risk of cancer later on.