LEITH Primary School deserves congratulations for bidding to stop the rot in our children's teeth and halt rising obesity levels by banning sweets in the playground. What a pity the council couldn't back the head teacher when a tiny minority of parents claimed their poor wee mites wouldn't last till lunchtime without a chocolate fix.
It's no surprise that the UK has the world's highest obesity rate after the US, since our children are deluged by opportunities to indulge in sweets, snacks and fizzy drinks. No wonder we have a generation of porkers - they never stop eating. And we're helping them, shovelling rubbish down their throats as we star in our very own version of Fat Girls and Feeders. Even trips to the swimming pool or cinema mean running the gauntlet of fast food outlets selling sugary drinks in a choice of Huge, Giant or Massive, along with waistband straining buckets of ice cream and popcorn.
The Leith school sweet ban had the backing of 82 per cent of parents, a huge majority in favour of the plan, and of a magnitude that MSPs would gladly swap their travel allowances for. However, when the rule was enforced and some parents complained, the council failed to back the school.
Would it rather wring its hands and pour its energies (and finances) into producing publications extolling us to keep our kids healthy than put its money where its mouth is and support those trying to effect change? Why shouldn't the education authority tell parents what to put in their children's lunchboxes? They decide what goes into school dinners.
No one likes being told what to do, but sometimes it's for our own good, like the smoking ban. Leith Primary is not the only school in Edinburgh where sweets and fizzy drinks are discouraged and those other schools must now be hoping none of their parents decide to complain to the council. For those who are determined to set their children up for a future of ill-health with a daily dose of rubbish, Leith Primary was prepared to allows crisps, with their lip-smacking ingredients including flavour enhancers, monosodium glutamate, disodium 5-ribonucleotide, salt and fat. After all, they're made of potatoes, so parents can be sure their little darlings are keeping up with their five fruit and veg.