OLYMPIAN COLIN JACKSON says the coronavirus pandemic is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for the UK to redefine how it looks at health.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live as part of BBC Radio’s Rethink project, the sprinter says that some are warning of a “lost generation of inactive youngsters” who have missed out on months of sport and physical education.
Although adding health and wellbeing to the school curriculum is a step in the direction, he said more must be done to have it “prioritised” in schools.
Jackson is taking part in Rethink, a series of essays from global voices that looks at how the world could change after the coronavirus pandemic.
A healthy life starts with the way we teach health and nutrition and exercise in schools.
Pope Francis, Tim Berners Lee and Andy Murray are among those contributing to the project, which is being broadcast across Radio 4, 5 Live and the World Service.
Jackson guest edited Nihal Arthanayake’s show and has recorded an essay on the future of health and wellbeing in the UK.
Speaking on 5 Live, Jackson will says that current government advice is inadequate.
“We need the government and public health authorities who have access to study information, to be honest about what it takes to live a balanced and healthy life, so we can take responsibility and choose,” he will tell 5 Live.
“It starts with the way we teach health and nutrition and exercise in schools. That in itself is really important. The five a day should really be 10 a day.
“Of course we have temptations on fast food because it’s there right in front of us but we must know how to enjoy it. Good education here again is so important.
“We have to treat our bodies like a luxury item that you can keep forever, not a fast fashion purchase that you bin after a few weeks.
“We don’t have to think about anything else except that because if we don’t, underlying health problems like diabetes, heart disease, obesity that make viruses such as Covid-19 much more effective killers, will be a problem. “
He adds that a higher proportion of health issues in the BAME population must also be addressed.