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Parents of fat children told to take responsibility to help diffuse Gloucester’s obesity time bomb

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 04, 2014

Parents of fat children told to take responsibility to help diffuse Gloucester’s obesity time bomb
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PARENTS have been told to take responsibility for fat children to help diffuse Gloucester’s obesity time bomb.

With a quarter of children in the city obese, it is feared the long term effect on health care services in the county could be devastating unless action is taken.

Gloucestershire County Council’s public health and wellbeing board met at Shire Hall to discuss a new report that shows the region is at tipping point.

It states children with obese parents are more likely to be obese themselves.

Councillor Dorcas Binns, cabinet member for public health and communities, said: “Obesity is an inter-generational problem that affects the whole country and is an international problem.

“It is a complicated social issue, connected to access to housing, parks, doctors, diet and activity. Parents and communities should take responsibility with the county council.”

Health experts from the county council have gone out into communities in Matson, Podsmead and Lydney to find out what help families need to help achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Dawn Harper, a Gloucestershire GP and presenter on Channel Four programme Embarrassing Bodies said people need to take action to control their weight.

“It doesn’t really matter what politicians do to the NHS, if we don’t all wake up and smell the coffee to do something about what is an epidemic in this country then our NHS will just crumble,” she said.

“We will not be able to afford to pay for all the care for health problems that are related to obesity.”

Some families have claimed it is too expensive to eat healthily.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said families on low incomes are more at risk of obesity related problems.

He said: “I wouldn’t put blame on the parents or the children. Society has created an environment where it is very difficult for a lot of people to keep themselves in trim.

“Processed food which is less than healthy, is stuffed with high levels of fat and sugar. It is in the diet of a large proportion of the population, possibly up to a quarter, who are susceptible to that kind of lifestyle.”

Last year, Hempsted mum Becky Baker, was sent a letter from a school nurse to say her son’s weight was seriously damaging his health.

Becky signed up to Slimming World and made drastic changes to the family diet and 11-year-old Oliver lost almost two stone.

They continue to eat their favourite meals but make them themselves instead of eating processed alternatives.

“It is doable,” said Becky, who is now a Slimming World consultant.

“It’s not about introducing a diet, that wasn’t the message I wanted to give to my son.

“It was about educating him about what is healthy, what is bad for him, where food comes from and how to prepare meals.

“Oliver suffered asthma when he was overweight but he is much healthier now. He is able to play a full rugby game without suffering breathing problems.”

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6 comments

  • RoadWombat  |  May 05 2014, 8:23PM

    Get 'em out on a few more cross-country runs. Last three get to do it again. Simple!

  • Free2opine  |  May 05 2014, 12:48PM

    That dear little girl in the picture doesn't stand a chance if her parents aren't going to help her. Perhaps they think it "ok" and that she "doesn't mind how she looks, as long as she is happy". However, I wonder,if, given the choice of being slimmer and being overweight, what she would choose. The parents are the ones giving her what she eats, so the child can't be blamed.

  • TruthSeeker7  |  May 05 2014, 10:11AM

    I don't think obesity has any one single cause. It is easier to assume that all obesity is due to a 'couldn't care less I will eat what I like' attitude. Whilst there is that element to it there are also other issues, such as both parents working long hours and being too exhausted to cook proper meals, ignorance on food portions and what constitutes healthy food, parents being too afraid to allow their children out to play or living in an area with a shoe box garden in the city, children staying in instead of going out to play because parents are working and unable to supervise them. We live in a culture of tv advertising influencing purchases, manufactured chemical laden artificial garbage being sold as food. Many issues to tackle but Im sure many will still favour the 'they are too lazy to be bothered' one.

  • IsitJimKerr  |  May 04 2014, 9:26PM

    Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said "I wouldn't put blame on the parents or the children. Society has created an environment............................' That's right, Mr Right-on Smart @r*£, blame everyone else. If I eat too much, it's my fault, no-one else's. When we start to face up to our responsibilities, then we might get better as a civilisation.

  • Stuntgirl1  |  May 04 2014, 8:14PM

    How is it not cheaper to buy a banana for 20p or a chocolate bar for 80p?

  • GlosAnarchy  |  May 04 2014, 7:18PM

    Guilty of child abuse if there is no underlying medical problem and that's the end of it, no excuses!

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