If our kids are fat and unfit, where will we find the players for future All Black teams?

Dressed to kill but too fat to fight.

Officials obviously are keen to read what Alf has to say on this and that, and – in this case – what he has to say about child health matters.

Within days of your favourite MP blogging on the topic, we have evidence to affirm that children living within easy walking or cycling distance of school are continuing to be driven there despite increasing efforts to curb New Zealand’s alarming childhood obesity rates.

Stuff tells us today of a 2006-07 study that found that one in five Kiwi children was overweight and one in 12 was obese.

But the fresh news is:

Less than 40 per cent of Wellington children living within five kilometres of their schools walk or bike each day, as busy lives and safety concerns drive parents and their kids into cars, survey results from Greater Wellington regional council show.

Half of those being driven to school live within 2km, according to the study of 27 schools.

Alf could regale you with recollections of his walking 20 km to and from school each day in bare feet, sometimes in snow and often in rain, although this would be a gross fabrication of the sort more typically generated by Labour and Green politicians.

But he did walk to and from school.

So why do modern parents do their children a mischief in the health department by chauffeuring the buggers to and from school?

Concerns about safety – paradoxically – are among the most common reasons.

That’s gotta be a laugh.

Parents are saying they have opted to shorten their kids’ life spans by increasing their susceptibility to obesity and all the ills that go with, rather than expose them to the much lesser risk of molestation or a traffic accident.

These fluffy-brained namby-pamby parents are unlikely to pay much attention to the regional council’s sustainable transport manager Jill Beck.

She is advising that walking or cycling not only has health benefits for children but would also mean less congestion around school gates.

The council was working with schools to encourage initiatives such as “walking buses”. “The health benefits are huge in terms of getting kids active,” she said.

It was also an opportunity to teach children how to walk and cycle safely.

Jinelle Barnes seems to have the right attitude.

She said she and daughter Rylee Foley, 5, walked to school because it was cheaper and Rylee got to see her friends on the way.

They lived about a kilometre away but preferred to walk even when it was raining because it saved time trying to get a park.

The survey figures show that only 39 per cent of children living within 5km of school are using “active modes” to get to school.

If the buggers can’t walk or bike 5km, we should start to despair about the calibre of the next generation of All Blacks.

They won’t have the energy to make it to half time.

Is Alf serious?

Damned right.

And if our kids aren’t fit enough to play a game of rugby, what about fighting a war?

It should be noted that veteran top brass in the United States military last year called on Capitol Hill to change diet habits of American youngsters, saying that the country’s youth are too fat to fight.

Maybe Al Qaeda has inflitrated the fast-food industry in the US and is slowly but surely nobbling the enemy by fattening American kids for the slaughter, knowing full well that American parents can be counted on to ensure the brats don’t get the exercise they need to keep in shape.

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