Friday, February 29, 2008

Kid flag ban by PC teachers

SCHOOLKIDS are being punished for flying the English flag, a Government report claimed yesterday. It found that politically correct teachers are sending youngsters home for wearing clothing featuring the St George cross. And kids are even being told off just because they have been dropped off in a car decorated with the symbol.

A 76-page report for Children’s Secretary Ed Balls concluded: “The general perception among parents was that it was no longer acceptable to be proud to be English.” It said it had heard “many” cases of PC-mad teachers banning the flag.

Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, said last night: “This is absolutely ridiculous.“Youngsters from all backgrounds should be proud to be English and shouldn’t be afraid to express it.”

The Childhood Wellbeing report, carried out by Counterpoint Research, added: “Political correctness and perceived health and safety regulations were felt to have systematically undermined communities and the quality of their children’s education.

A Schools Department spokesman said last night: “It is nonsense to suggest young people should not be proud to be English.”


Thursday, February 07, 2008

British study finds genetic link to child obesity

A study of more than 5,000 pairs of twins has found that a child's risk of becoming overweight is mostly down to nature, not nurture. The research into children aged between eight and 11 showed that the variation in a child's body mass index and waist circumference was 77% attributable to genes and 23% to the environment in which they grow up.

Overweight children are more likely to become overweight or obese adults, a condition that can contribute to ill health and increased cancer risk in later life. The results are published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"This study shows that it is wrong to place all the blame for a child's excessive weight gain on the parents; it is more likely to be due to the child's genetic susceptibility," said Jane Wardle of University College London.

A twin study allows scientists to work out the extent of the genetic contribution to a pattern of behaviour compared with the environmental contribution.

Identical twins, who share all their genes, are compared with non-identical twins, who share half their genes. By spotting behaviour or traits that occur more often in identical rather than non-identical ones, scientists can work out the relative contribution of genetics.

Study author Susan Carnell, a psychologist at University College London, said that genetically influenced behaviour was not inevitable. "One of the ways genes could be acting is through behaviour, ie food intake and physical activity, and these things are under our conscious control. Genes just might make it more difficult for some people than others."

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of health information, said: "This research highlights the importance of doing all we can to encourage children to eat healthily.

"If genetic influence is strong, we must try to counter these inherited tendencies by providing the healthiest possible environment, and educating parents on the importance of a well-balanced diet and an active lifestyle."