Reasons to be nostalgic...;News;News amp; Opinion

3rd December 1999 at 00:00
PANIC, decadence and religious fever are the symptoms most associated with millennial times. To those, you can now add a fourth: nostalgia.

Two surveys published this week share a distinctly rosy view of the past. Back in the old days, we learn, young people were a healthy, God-fearing lot who ate well and knew their Bible.

Today's youngsters, by sad comparison, are TV addicts who stuff their faces with sweets and fast food and wouldn't know King Herod if he knocked on their door to cull the first-born in person.

A TV company survey found that the young know less about the Nativity than their parents do. ONdigital discovered only one in five could name Herod and even fewer knew what Mary and Joseph were doing in Bethlehem in the first place. They were, however, fully up-to-date on events in Coronation Street.

But adults can't be that smug: the survey also found they would rather watch television at Christmastime than go to church.

Further evidence against today's children comes from a Medical Research Council comparison of the diet of four-year-olds in 1950 and 1992. It claimed that, despite rationing and austerity, children ate better in 1950.

Professor Michael Wadsworth, director of the survey, said ration planners had done an excellent job. Although New Labour may scorn the idea, it seems the nanny state does sometimes know best.

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