The kids aren't alright

Food, as ‘Super-Size Me’ author Eric Schlosser says, can reveal more about a nation than its art or its literature. By that measure, the rocketing levels of child obesity in the Middle East should be telling parents that the coca-colonisation of their children is becoming a life or death issue.

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By  Joanne Bladd Published  April 11, 2006

|~||~||~|Food, as ‘Super-Size Me’ author Eric Schlosser says, can reveal more about a nation than its art or its literature. By that measure, the rocketing levels of child obesity in the Middle East should be telling parents that the coca-colonisation of their children is becoming a life or death issue.

So why are they failing to act?

Obesity is becoming so widespread that society is beginning to just budge up and accommodate it. The knock-on effect of burgeoning waistlines means airplane seats are getting wider, portions are getting bigger and yesterday’s XXL clothes are today’s more tactfully-worded ‘plus-size’.

Campaign groups are vocal about the responsibility of fast-food companies, and no-one can deny that they have their role. But here’s the rub; when you’re talking about a seven-year-old, parents can exercise their initiative and just say no. We are facing a future where diet pills and surgery are becoming real possibilities for our children – and who can truly want that for their child for what is, at the end of the day, a preventable issue?

Experience has shown that government initiatives aren’t enough. Both the UK and America have well-established educational programmes that teach kids the rights and wrongs of food choices; yet their kids are getting fatter.

Prevention begins at home and parents have to face up to the facts. Overindulged kids are overweight kids. And with soaring rates of diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, junking the junk is the obvious answer. Obesity is an epidemic; we can’t afford to ignore it.

What’s your view on the obesity crisis? Let me know, using the address shown below.

Joanne Bladd, deputy editor (joanne.bladd@itp.com)||**||

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