Hassocks is definitely the place to be. A few weeks ago, went to an open morning at Hassocks Health Centre.

It was organised by the local Patient Participation Group, charitable organisation which encourages health education, held in a GP's surgery.

The theme was Healthy Eating and Lifestyle for Children.

All parents present were aware how important it is to establish good eating habits in childhood but found it difficult to put into practice.

Some kids skip breakfast and go on to snack on junk foods. Most don't eat enough dietary fibre and, instead, take in too much salt, sugar and "bad" fat.

Children are eating just one third of the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables and many don't eat any at all.

The results of all these poor eating habits are seen in the rising tide of obesity, gut, immune and mental health problems.

A recent Government survey warned young people's health is far worse now than it was 20 years ago, despite our scientific advances.

Food designers are partly to blame. They hijack and distort our children's sense of taste and smell.

Now, children are addicted to the glamour and street-cred of snacks cleverly-packaged and expensive claptrap.

Crisps and sweets have become "forbidden fruit" and more desirable than the real thing. What's wrong with an ordinary apple?

Another common problem is the over-dependence on wheat and dairy products, which prevents children from eating a wider variety of foods.

These two items are all pervasive, overly processed and loaded with undesirables.

In clinical practice, it is often found that wheat and dairy products worsen the symptoms of childhood asthma or eczema.

The solution must be to provide a variety of nutritious, home-cooked meals and healthier snacks. It's probably a good deal cheaper, too.

When shopping, stay clear of high-sugar juices and synthetic desserts.

Think "peasant" and welcome children to the world of real food.

If you are stuck for recipes, invest in a good cookbook and teach them how to cook.

Fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, fish, poultry (and organic red meat in moderation), beans, pulses are all good options.

Explain that the body is designed to drink water not fizzy pop or Sunny Delight.

The trick is for the whole family to eat well and to introduce changes gradually and consistently.

Lateral thinking is always helpful, especially where local needs and public transport are concerned.

Chris Paynter, from Hassocks, has suggested supermarkets team up with sports centres to provide a free, round-trip, bus shuttle.

As an incentive to use the service, money-off vouchers for organic produce or exercise classes might be included.

Such an initiative would encourage families to eat more fruit and vegetables and provide much-needed physical exercise.

His idea is practical, environmentally-friendly and within acceptable time constraints for busy parents. Well, how about it, Tesco and Triangle Leisure Centre?

The residents of Hassocks want your feedback.