Child Obesity: Why Do Parents Let Their Kids Get Fat?

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Child obesity: Why do parents let their kids get fat?

Obesity experts say parents are struggling with a multitude of problems when it comes to their child's weight. They range from a lack of education about food, limited cooking skills and limited money to buy healthier food to longer working hours and marketing campaigns for junk food aimed at kids.

Despite the rise in child obesity, experts say it's wrong to just blame parents.

”They definitely have a responsibility, but the issue is much broader than simply blaming them," says Paul Gately, professor of exercise and obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University. 

Many parents don't realise their child is fat when it might be obvious to other people, he says. According to studies, 75% of parents underestimated the size of an overweight child, while 50% underestimated the size of an obese child.

People also judge things on what they see around them on a daily basis, Gately says. Tracey admits she let her daughter's weight creep up because "she was no bigger than some of her friends".

From a very early age children are very good at using a "whole set of behaviours" to get what they want, say experts. It's easy to judge but nearly every parent in the land has caved in to some sort of emotion blackmail from their child, says Gately. It just might not be about food.

Charlie Powell, campaigns director of the Children's Food Campaign - an alliance of 150 education bodies, health groups and children's charities - says it's also hard for parents to stand up to the barrage of junk food advertising.

A bit about food industry:
There are huge hurdles they have to surmount to keep their children healthy. It's stuff that wasn't around in years gone by and food manufacturers are very sophisticated in the techniques they use to appeal to children."

A bit about media:
"A lot of it is because the images of obesity that we see in the media are people who are...
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