Britain, a Nation of the Obese

January 31, 2010


After watching the Channel 4’s ‘Generation XXL’, a program which follows different families with obese children, I realised that the nation just isn’t doing enough to try to tackle not only child obesity, but the nation’s obesity problem.


The Health Secretary Alan Johnson has warned that 9 out of 10 British adults and two-thirds of children will be overweight or obese by the middle of this century unless eating and exercise habits change, so why are we not listening?


If you look around the average playground today, you see children who are so overweight they cannot run around with their peers. If you look around the average work place you see employees struggle to walk up the stairs to the office. Humans are designed to hunt and run; now some of us can’t even get out of bed without getting out of breath.


The Government believe it is too late to try to help adults, and seem to be focusing their time, and money, on the younger generation of our nation. The cost to the UK of the obesity epidemic will treble to £50 billion a year by 2050 unless urgent action is taken. The Government has purposed many different ways to try to help the younger generation know the dangers about obesity.


Jamie Oliver’s school dinner’s scheme has been assigned £280 million over the next 10 years to help children try to enjoy new, healthier foods. The Health Secretary announced it would spend £400 million on the Change4Life public health campaign to encourage families to eat better, eat less and exercise more. Cooking classes for children are being introduced to children as young as 5, and millions of free children’s sports clubs have been set up to try to motivate children to exercise. But, will it work?


The main problem seems to be with the children’s home lifestyle. Guardians seem to be lenient with children, allowing them to help themselves to unhealthy snacks and feeling bad for telling the children no. Most children have been brought up on convenience ready meals or take aways; modern day parents just don’t seem to have the time to cook from scratch anymore -most children refuse to eat healthy food as it is so different on the food they have been bought up on.


Parents believe they are being nasty if they tell their children they cannot eat the food they ‘like’. The healthy school dinner’s change is a scheme I support; however, here is the problem that parents will just give their children a packed lunch instead.


The Government should realize that it’s not only the children they should be educating; it’s the parents. They have to realize that they’re not being kind to their children; in fact they are harming them. Most over weight children are unhappy with their size, they want to run and play with their friends, and being young they feel different.



On Channel 4’s Generation XXL, they took parents of obese children to a hospital where they showed them their children’s BMI (most of which were off of the scale), informed them of the health risks, and allowed the children to explain to the parents what they wanted. They were then given information on local sports clubs the children cold join, as well as nutritional information such as portion control. This information was enough to shock most parents into helping their children, and could be easily done by every school nurse around the country.


The Government is right; we have to help a future generation -which does start with children. But the people in control of the children, their parents, need to support this view and have the help what is available to them to do so.