Are parents to blame for child obesity?

Published Friday, 09 August 2013
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With almost a third of children aged between two and 15 now being classed as 'overweight' and 14-20% of those being 'obese', This Morning debates whether or not parents are to blame.

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Sally Windsor joined presenters Jeff Brazier and Jenni Falconer in the studio on Friday and argued that obesity in children is unacceptable and should be treated as a form of child abuse.

"I don't think we can blame anyone other than the parents, it's absolutely the fault of the parents," she said.

"Who are children's role models? It's the parents.

"Ultimately that is where the blame lies. We are their caregivers; we are responsible for what they go on and do in life, and for everything about them, especially when they are younger.

"As they grow up they go on and make their own decisions, but at this stage their diet, wellbeing and health is absolutely down to us."

But Natasha Evans disagreed and said she feels sorry for parents of obese children and believes we are all in the wrong when it comes to the childhood obesity epidemic.

She argued: "The problem with the word blame is it implies an intention, and I don't think most parents intend to make their kids unhealthy.

"All this throwing blame in the direction of the parents, it blinds the real villain of the piece - the fast food companies with multi-million pound budges at their disposal, specifically designated to getting children hooked on fast food.

"I think our whole attitude towards obesity is completely skewed, if it was as easy as knowing what you should eat and then eating it, we would all be doing it. It's a psychological issue.

"If a child has anorexia, we don't automatically blame the parent, we treat that as the psychological mental illness that it is - obesity is just the same.

Natasha added that schools, the NHS and the government need to do more to tackle the issue and it should not be simply left to the parents to handle alone.

But Sally felt that while dealing obesity needs to be tackled at the highest level, she maintained that ultimately it is the parents who decide what to feed their children.

She said "It's the parents' conscious decision when the walk into the supermarket and fill up their trolley, they are making the decision to fill lit with unhealthy food, stuff that they know their child's diet isn't going to benefit from."

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