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Parents ‘normalising’ obesity

Are you a parent who allows junk food and doesn’t encourage regular physical activity?


Well, according to the head of the NHS in England, parents who do the above are actually helping in “normalising obesity”.

Simon Stevens has called for mums and dads to be aware of the dangers that being overweight or obese can cause to young people.

Mr Stevens said: “Junk food, sugary fizzy drinks and couch potato lifestyles are normalising obesity and, as parents, a third of us can’t now spot when our own child is seriously overweight.

“So we’ve got a choice.

….Condemn our children to a rising tide of avoidable diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and burden taxpayers with an NHS bill far exceeding an extra £8 billion by 2020?

Or take wide ranging action, as families, as the health service, as government, as industry.”

He made his comments yesterday, alongside Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced plans to extend NHS services to seven days a week.

Mr Stevens added that he felt the health service “was entering probably the most challenging period in its 67-year history”.

His comments come just a few days after a pan-European study involving 14,000 people found that less than 50 per cent realise that obesity is a disease and most are unaware that it causes many serious illnesses.

‘Obesity: An underestimated threat’ found that 56 per cent of people think that obesity is less dangerous than smoking tobacco.

Back in March, figures from the British Journal of General Practice showed just under a third of parents underestimated their child’s weight.

Another study by the World Health Organisation warned that by 2030, two-thirds of women and three-quarters of men will be obese in the UK.

Across the country, currently 60 per cent of adults are overweight, including a quarter who are obese. 

The figures are the second highest in Europe after Hungary.

During their election campaign, the Conservatives made clear that they supported a plan put together by Mr Stevens to fill a funding gap in the NHS, estimated at £30bn a year by 2020.

The scheme would see £22bn billion covered through efficiencies, with the £8bn remainder coming from government funds.

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