Editorial

By Hodge, Selwyn | The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, May 2005 | Go to article overview

Editorial


Hodge, Selwyn, The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health


Is it realistic to expect the public to make rational choices about healthy Life styles? As far as eating is concerned, most people seem content with food that is enjoyable, satisfies their hunger and does not poison them.

The recent problems experienced by the food supply chain have undoubtedly made everyone think more about what they are eating, but any disquiet probably has more to do with safety than nutritional standards. Since the population has a fairly rudimentary understanding of why a balanced and body-friendly diet is necessary, most people find it difficult to properly evaluate the concerns about food reported in the media.

Food production, preparation, labelling and advertising are now so sophisticated that many people find it hard to distinguish the merits of alternative products. This is not helped by the conflicting messages emerging from the food industry itself, many of which stem from disagreements over managing nutritional content and consumer safety. Indeed the public's confusion sometimes provides a means of promoting the apparent beneficial qualities of certain ingredients while conveniently ignoring the deleterious effects of others.

The various attempts at improving the nation's eating habits have had limited success because most people, particularly children, rely more on their taste buds than a list of ingredients to advise them on their food intake. …

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