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  • 20 May 2015 00:00
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Parents normalising obesity in children through poor diet and little activity

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In an international study published last week, more than a third (36%) of UK adults thought they were just overweight when they were actually clinically obese, while research in the British Journal of General Practice in March found just under a third (31%) of parents underestimated their child's weight.

The NHS England chief executive 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. Using the full range of tools at our disposal."

"It's a no brainer - pull out all the stops on prevention, or face the music."

Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe called on schools to do more to tackle obesity.

Radcliffe, 41, who ran her final competitive London Marathon, last month, said they should set aside more time for physical activity, increase education about healthy eating and provide spaces for bikes and scooters.

Radcliffe, said: "I think there needs to be more time in school set aside for physical activity as well, and more playground equipment set up so they are encouraged to be more active.”

She said chaperoned walks to school and having places there where scooters and bikes can be stored for the day are both things that "work really well”. Taxing unhealthy food or subsidising healthy food could also help, she said, as well as educating parents and children about nutrition.

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