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.”