THE Consumers Association of Penang is disturbed to learn that junk food is being sold to children while they are in school buses.
So far, cases have been reported in Penang and Kedah, but it is believed this practice is quite widespread.
Healthy lifestyle campaigns organised by the Health Ministry are aimed at encouraging the population to adopt healthy lifestyle habits.
The message will be negated if “trades” of such kind go on.
Already, Malaysians are reputed to be among the fattest in Asia. Diabetes, heart disease and cancer cases have reached alarming levels.
Obesity among children is on the rise and this has become a cause of great concern among the health authorities.
Let us not fool ourselves. Today’s children who practise unhealthy eating habits are going to be the reason for tomorrow’s major increase in diabetic, cancer and heart disease cases.
Action should be taken against bus operators who sell junk food to schoolchildren. The Road Transport Department should prevent such practices.
Parents who are aware of such incidents must highlight the matter. The School Bus Operators Association should also warn its members to halt this practice immediately.
Meanwhile, health authorities should also look into the food that is being sold to children at school canteens. Random surveys by CAP have shown there is a lack of balanced food choices which should include fruits and vegetables.
All efforts by the Government to encourage Malaysians to adopt healthy eating practices will go to nought if an environment that allows for healthy food choices is not provided. This is especially critical in the case of children.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS,
Consumers Association of Penang.