26 February 2007

Child Obesity: Whose Responsibility?

It seems only a week or two since Jamie Oliver's 2005 campaign against turkey twisters and chips led to new standards for school meals - and, in its wake, the scenes of parents passing orders of fried food through school fences to disgruntled pupils. Today's news has been full of the story of Connor McCreaddie, the eight-year-old weighing in at 14-stone, four times the average for his age, and his mother, who says her son refuses to eat fruit, vegetables and salads and will only eat processed foods.

The chairman of the National Obesity Forum has said "The long-term impact of this child's gross obesity are frightening. He has great risk of diabetes and coronary illness. His life expectancy is severely prejudiced. So action is required if his health is to be safeguarded."

But who should take what action? What are the roles and obligations of parents, schools, school-food providers, and the government in tackling childhood obesity?