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Why are Our Children So Sickly?

A comparison of todays children compared to when I grew up in the 1960/70’s.

Why are today’s children so sickly?

I have read countless articles on children with ‘Nut allergies’ and ‘food intolerances’ and children seeking ‘Physic iatric’ help around exam times! I see articles on children being mugged for their designer trainers and designer casual wear! I consider myself middle aged at 46. However I can remember my childhood very well. I was born and grew up in a poor working class family in north London in the 1960’s and 1970’s

I cannot remember my mother ever asking me throughout my childhood,

“What would you like for dinner?”

This didn’t ever happen. The families meal choices were motivated by money or more directly lack of money! Our dinner table didn’t ever see Beef Steak or pork chops and most definitely not Veal or Salmon or Trout. Only for one year did I ever have school dinners as my family couldn’t afford it. We didn’t even have sandwich boxes! We had sandwiches packed in a used bread packet.

By necessity my mother would buy ’Out of date’ food. Say for instance if we had Yogurt its was out of date by two to three days! This wasn’t an attempt by my mother to poison us as children. There were three of us children to be supported. My father often had two jobs and my mother usually had a part time job. This combined income was hardly enough to keep us all.

We didn’t have central heating in our house and my old family home still doesn’t have central heating or double glazed windows! Most of our food shopping for a week was bought off a market which came to Enfield on a Thursday my mother would take two shopping trolleys and fill them with cans of food from the market. The cans of food had no labels or date stamps!

There was a sign above the dented cans which said,

“In these cans there will be either, Dog food or cat food, and or canned fruit, possibly soup or canned Spam or Corned beef “

As our family had a dog and many cats the market stall was a must for our family. Once home the cans were opened and the contents examined? If the can contained fruit instead of corned beef for instance my mother would continue opening cans until she hit upon something for our dinner! The cans that were opened and not used straight away were placed in the fridge!

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  1. CHIPMUNK

    On April 28, 2011 at 9:04 am


    great mention of this thanks

  2. PR Mace

    On April 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm


    This in my opinion was outstanding. I grew up as poor as you did, my friend. We ate whatever was put before us or what my mother told me to cook as she worked full-time evening shifts. I remember getting sick with a cold for the flu once in a while but not much. We didn’t have AC and play was done outside with make believe or a ride on a bike. My husband and I tried to give our children more than we had and they are both having a hard time with their adult life. Did we give them too much? I often ask myself this question. This was really one of your best articles. It gives the reader much to think about.

  3. sanaahmed

    On April 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm


    great work

  4. Angela Faith

    On April 30, 2011 at 12:36 am


    Well composed and very interesting My Lord…Good reading for a Friday night. This would be a fun project for a group of friends to write and tell of their bringing up..Certainly purging of the past. Think I might do just that! Once again yu have inspired me. Kid of like Phil Senters used to write on Triond Old Dirt Road Tales..I enjoyed them so I think he now writes for RedGage. I miss the stories so much. Thank you for this!! xo Angela Faith

  5. researchanalyst

    On April 30, 2011 at 6:50 am


    It has to do with the sugar in the diet

  6. Heather Dawn

    On May 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm


    Couldn’t agree with you more, well said! Although I do think that part of the problem is prepackaged foods that don’t really have much nutritional value. Nobody cooks anymore, and everything is sanitized to the point that kids build no resistance to germs.

    Like you, we never had any luxury foods, rarely had milk in the house, but I was never sick, had the flu once and in my adult years, at the age of about 28, survived a ruptured appendix, to which the doc declared I must have a really strong immune system (and tolerance to pain…LOL).

    As kids we played in the graveyard or the garbage dump, and as a mother, I don’t get upset when my boys eat bugs, dirt, twigs, although I did make my youngest spit out the poop. Hey, you have to draw the line somewhere.

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