We are not “amueslied”

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7448.1136-b (Published 06 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1136
  1. Alice M Walsh, public health specialist trainee (alice.walsh{at}somerset.nhs.uk),
  2. Jonathan R Hincks, general practitioner
  1. Somerset Coast Primary Care Trust, Mallard House, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RN
  2. Cheddar Medical Centre, Cheddar, Somerset BS27 3AY

    EDITOR—Professor Jane Wardle, as reported by Burke in her news extra item, is right to raise the issue of the worrying nutritional content of some breakfast cereals, but her suggestion that general practitioners should target patients for “Golden Nuggets” of nutritional advice takes the “Weetabixit” and will undoubtedly be greeted with a “Frostie” reception in primary care.1

    There is not a “Shreddie” of evidence to show that this presents an effective approach to the problem. If Wardle has difficulty interpreting the nutritional content on cereal packets, how does she expect general practitioners to do so? Perhaps they could be provided with a “British Cereal Formulary” (BCF) as a reference guide.

    Rather than “Alpen” general practitioners to become expert interpreters of cereal packets, we need to adopt a population approach to the problem by swimming up stream to find the goose that is laying the “Golden Grahams.” A traffic light labelling system on all foods represents a feasible and practical solution. This will avoid confused patients from swarming round their general practitioners like “Hunny Bs” to a Pop Tart.

    In the meantime, some general practitioners may consider offering advice to cereal offenders as an enhanced service agreement, but we doubt that primary care trusts would be “Ready (Brek)” to agree to finance this initiative. Primary medical performers indeed. If only life was “Oatso Simple.”


    • Competing interests None declared