Friday, February 08, 2008

Healthy school kids in Spain?

Parents in the UK get a lot of stick for not making sure that their kids get enough exercise and allowing them to eat lots of junk. We look to the continent as an example. Yes, it's true that there are less convenience foods in the supermarkets and the spanish still cook from scratch but they are slipping into bad habits too.

We live on an urbanisation in a village near the coast. The walk to school from our urbanisation is about ten minutes. There are spanish families who take their car out of garage and drive through the awkward, narrow streets everyday rather than do the walk. It doesn't save them any time because we have timed ourselves walking in comparison. So they are no different to the Brits who drive their kids to school in the morning. Incidently, they too are mainly driving huge MPVs or jeeps even though they probably rarely go beyond a ten mile radius.

Another thing that caught my attention was that en route at half eight in the morning there are two kiosks open. These are tiny hut like shops crammed with every E number ever created and lined with wall to wall chucheria (sweets, cheap crisps etc). The children must take desayuno (breakfast) to school in the morning. We are given a daily plan outlining what it should be e.g Monday, fruit, Tuesday, sandwich but these kiosks don't stock anything that appears on the list for school. Missed opportunity there, I would say but no, they would rather stock the most lethal concotions in pretty colourful wrappers to hand out to the kids first thing in the morning.

Thankfully the Spanish children still 'play out' at the weekend and the parks are always full so the children get the opportunity to burn off their kiosk junk unlike the children in the UK who are in the habit of staying indoors playing on their consoles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi I have really enjoyed reading about your experiences in Spain so far...I totally agree about the "car issue" but for Spaniards, walking 15 minutes if far to much. Having said this, even though the drive rather than walk..what makes a very big difference is what they PUT INTO there mouths...that is the secret!! Food in general is cooked from scatch and they tend not to eat to many "high calorie or saturated fats. Also they're eathing habbits are very different - small breakfast, large lunch, small snack, small dinner..this is what still makes most women in Spain a size 40 or 42. If they are starting with the bad habits as you mention...it is not through admiration to the UK residents in Spain but rather because this group of society DEMANDS IT!! They miss their baked beans no toast and sausages with mash. I have noticed on programmes here in the UK that expat children living in the Spain (seen on programmes) eat so much HEALTHIER.. a bocadillo, tortilla de patatas or simply have water as a refreshment. These kids DO MORE with there parents and start to intergrate more to a community here (in Spain) than back home.SnifF! sad but true! I went to my son's new school the other day and it's the same thing..Healthy menu (once in the cafeteria) but in the kiosk all "Es" but I guess it all boils down to options. I prefer my child eats a bag of crisp but also has the option to eat a healthy and well balance meal at school...something that in the UK is really lacking and getting worse. He attended a top Prep school in the UK!! I wish you all the best in ESPANA.

xx Mac