Parents blamed for fat kids
from the "no shit sherlock" files that is google news.
Parents blamed for fat kids
Michelle Wiese Bockmann
August 01, 2006
PARENTS packing the school lunch box - not fast-food outlets or tuckshops - are most to blame for allowing their children to get fat.
Peter Clifton, who co-wrote the worldwide best-selling CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, laid responsibility yesterday for the nation's childhood obesity epidemic on parents and what they fed their kids.
He singled out the school lunch box and the sugar-laden drinks and high-fat snacks that children were eating at home.
Dr Clifton highlighted studies in Australia and overseas that indicated consumption of these products at home and school was more likely to contribute to childhood obesity than eating at restaurants, tuckshops and fast-food outlets such as McDonald's. Higher calorie intake rather than lower physical activity was also a "main determination of weight gain in children", he told a parliamentary inquiry in South Australia.
"The problem is greater than just fast foods and restaurants," he said. "I suspect if we close down fast-food outlets and restaurants it won't make much difference, as there are plenty of high-energy, high-fat sources of food at the supermarket."
Dr Clifton is an internationally recognised scientist with the CSIRO.
Last year, along with Manny Noakes, he developed and published the controversial but best-selling book of low-fat, high-protein recipes said to achieve weight loss.
He gave evidence yesterday to South Australia's social development committee, which is investigating the link between fast foods and obesity.
Dr Clifton cited an Australian study that showed children ate 37 per cent of their daily energy intake at school, but only 14 per cent was lunch bought at the school tuckshop.
Bread was the highest energy source, contributing 20 per cent of intake, followed by biscuits at 13 per cent, then fruit, muesli and fruit bars, and packaged snack foods such as chips.
He said schools should be a focus for combating childhood obesity but strategies were needed to tackle the lunchbox, not just the canteen. Efforts to improve tuckshop food choices would have only a "minor impact" on what children ate.
Dr Clifton urged manufacturers to develop low-fat versions of the sugar-laden soft drinks, muesli and fruit bars and other snack foods such as chips that children ate.
"There's a need for low-calorie versions of snacks to become trendy like Coke Zero," Dr Clifton said.
He said the technology existed for manufacturers to cut the amount of fat in chips by 50 per cent. But he predicted the problem of childhood obesity would take decades to solve.
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