According to the Guardian, in 2008 the city of Los Angeles issued a ban on opening fast food outlets in certain areas to reduce the level of child obesity.
Given that obesity is on the rise in the UK, we too could soon be faced with new regulations which would forbid fast food chains from serving us if we have overweight children.This poses a major challenge to our civil liberties and questions our roles and responsibilities as parents.
However, what we should be asking ourselves is why the government might need to resort to such an extreme option in the first place. Evidence tells us that obese children grow up to become seriously unhealthy adults. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) recently reported that nearly one third (31%) of children aged 2-15 are overweight or obese, which costs the NHS £4.2bn annually. Rising costs suggest that this is a growing problem both for parents and for the government.
Are we failing our children by neglecting their well-being? Are we becoming so busy that we cannot afford to provide our children with homemade healthy sustenance any longer?
Giving children healthy eating options can be a daunting task, especially now it’s more common for both parents to be working full-time. However, does this excuse the government’s interference? As the word implies parenting should lie with the parents.
To avoid this interference we need to educate ourselves and our children to ensure that they are fed well and feel some kind of responsibility towards making good choices in their diets. It is widely thought that healthy food is not popular among children, but there are many easy and healthy options available, it’s just about exploring what’s on offer. These small efforts will change children’s eating habits and hopefully, prevent them from becoming overweight in the short and longer term.
Many thanks to Orie for sharing her views. Orie is a Research student at Kent Business School. Find out more about Kent Business School PhD programmes.
Orie is a PhD student at Kent Business School.