Saturday, 18 July 2009


Parents are naturally concerned for the wellbeing of their children. So it’s not surprising that the media have made their way to the school gates to get some reactions to increased numbers of deaths from swine flu. It’s also not surprising that a high level of anxiety is revealed, probably increased by the interest of the media.

Yet the school gates scene raises some questions in itself. Try to drive down any road adjacent to our local primary school and you find the way blocked by cars parked either side as parents drop off their children or wait to pick them up in the afternoon. If we are going to be worried by statistics, why aren’t we more concerned about the deadly effects of childhood obesity which is partly fuelled by being driven around rather than walking? And if you want a more statistically certain way of being killed or suffering serious injury, then use the roads.

It seems strange that we panic over something like swine flu that we cannot control, and only mitigate at best. Yet we constantly accept higher risks, seemingly without a second thought, when they are entirely under the control of our own behaviour.

But then dealing with our anxiety about our wellbeing by taking Tamiflu tablets is one thing, changing our lifestyle is too much to expect of us.

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