I get angry when people die for pointless reasons.

I'm not talking about suicide, which has its own complexities, many of which I can sympathise with. I'm also not talking about the doomed passengers aboard that Malaysian Airlines flight, believed to have crashed in the South China Sea this weekend. Some of us, for reasons beyond our control, will die in a sudden event, and all you can do is hope to God it wasn't painful.

What I think is absolutely ridiculous is the certainty I will outlive a lot of people who are 30 years younger than me.

We are all guilty of a certain amount of slackness when it comes to exercise, diet and hygiene, but generally speaking our bodies have a certain robustness and medical science in the 21st century is pretty supportive. But only up to a point, and then after that, my taxes are being used to help fund hospital stays for adults whose bodies have started falling apart.


Perhaps I should be more tolerant of people's choices. I remember asking a Wellington school principal some years ago why they weren't signed up to the Fruit In Schools programme. Her rather candid, off-the-record answer (which I treasure to this day) was that they had food that would kill people before they turned 40 and they had food that would allow them to live to 80. They could choose their own road to hell from there.

When it involves children, that "choice" comes down to parents. Now, I know it takes a lot of bravery to weather supermarket shopping with demanding children who stand in a trolley while constantly asking for sweets, but children are adaptable when it comes to what's put in front of them. In short, there is no excuse for a fat five-year-old. I have watched my nieces grumble their way through their mixed veges, and it must be so tempting to give in to demands. But ensuring our children eat properly is one of the most outstandingly responsible things a parent can do.

Parents are the bravest people I know. If you were brave enough to have a child, then you must have the courage to do the right thing in influencing a healthy start to life. After all, it's a bit of a downer if your children end up predeceasing you.