OPINION: I am not surprised at the recently reported bad health of Southlanders.
When one attends many of the public gatherings in Invercargill whether it is at the swimming baths, a concert or a sport's fixture, it doesn't take ''rocket science'' to realise that a significant number of people are overweight or obese.
I have also noted that if you are in a cafe or eating place, often the people who are overweight are the ones who have chosen unhealthy food or far too much food to eat.
Parents need to be educated to take a much tougher line with feeding their children healthy food and drink. Encouraging adults to grow their own vegetables would be a good start and it's good exercise into the bargain.
Just travel round our city and see the empty pieces of land that would make good vegetable gardens. Observe the shoppers at the Invercargill supermarkets and it is not only the overweight people who one sees too often but what goes in the shopping trolley is also an eye-opener.
But if people are going to lose weight and change to a healthy lifestyle, they have to be motivated, want to lose the weight and be positive when the going gets tough. They also need good positive and encouraging support from people around them.
As for the booze and drinking culture in not only Southland but all over New Zealand, it disgusts me. Putting the price up and changing the drinking age do not seem to have had much of an effect on the culture.
Education and the negative effects of excess alcohol has to be imparted when our children are young, adults have to be more responsible with their own drinking habits and a much harder line has to be taken with all agencies from the Government down.
In our society we ''soft soap'' too many things that are detrimental to our society and it seems these same agencies are afraid to take a hard line with the alcohol industry which after all benefits from the booze culture we have.
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