Breakfast of champions?

What did you have for breakfast ? Did it set you up for the day? You may think that this is an entirely private matter, but the Olympic Delivery Authority would disagree. As London’sEvening Standard reported, the ODA was so worried about the performance of hungry and hungover builders that it started providing porridge on site and so cut down on the pre-lunch accidents by builders more concerned about what was for lunch than about doing their jobs properly.

The ODA is only adopting a practice that has been common in some schools for years, as teachers realised that pupils who had not had a proper breakfast couldn’t concentrate. In that case they were putting their education and future prospects at risk. In the case of the construction workers, the consequences could have been more immediate, since construction is still a very dangerous industry.

It is interesting that this alternative to the conventional builders’ fry up or bacon butty is being discussed in the week when we are told that we should all cut back on red meat and especially preserved meats. And this is not the first attempt to improve builders’ health – previous campaigns have included making them cover up to prevent skin cancer.

There is a huge contrast between many builders’ attitude to food and the carefully honed diets of the athletes who will be competing on the Olympic site in a few weeks. As the building industry strives to become more professional, should builders be encouraged to take a more ‘professional’ attitude towards diet and health? Or is this a step too far, and undue interference? Are the mug of tea and the sausage sandwich important cultural elements of our construction industry?







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