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Tonight: Childhood Obesity and Hunger Strikes

Peter van Dyk | 17:53 UK time, Friday, 2 March 2007

As Richard said earlier, tonight we're talking about two topics: Childhood Obesity and Hunger Strikes.

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I'll be posting your texts and emails here...

Who's to blame for childhood obesity?

Smith from Houston:
Yes, parents are to blame!!!! Children watch everything that parents do, and then imitate. Parents need to stop filling their shopping carts with soda, crisps,and other junk food.

Dan in London
Governments are not to blame here. I blame the parents!

Pete Oregon
As far as abuse and removing the child from the family, that is finger pointing that hardly addresses the problem, and will most likely cause permanent psychological damage to the already over loaded child psyche.

Tommy, Columbus, Ohio emailed
There's nothing wrong with MacDonald's as long as you don't consume their product seven times a week. (Why people like Prince Charles are calling for franchises like MacDonald's to be shut down is far beyond reasonable. ) Governments should use their power to educate people about the decisions they need to make for themselves.

Susannah, San Francisco
I have two parents who are overweight. My mom knew the risks of food influences so she raised me to hate all the foods she loves. She also minimized the role of television in my life and ensured that I participated youth sport leagues. It is up to parents to teach their kids healthy eating habits and promote a healthy diet at home. It is also up to schools to provide nutrition classes and keep fast food companies and VENDING MACHINES filled with junk food out of the cafeteria.

Anon says
Put a tax on all fast food restaurants; that will also pay for the rubbish collection outside their shops.

Ruth says
Bring back competitive sports into schools, cut the time they spend on computers and in front of televisions and give them a better diet

Pieter, United Kingdom
I would like to see tough action taken against parents who let their children get fat. Letting your child get fat is abuse. I want to see a crackdown by the Govt now otherwise we are facing a massive problem in years to come.

Beryl in Canada
It's a well know fact that crisps, chicken nuggets, chips and fish sticks are not the way to cater to a child's nutritional needs. Perhaps ignorance is partly to blame but I think laziness is a bigger part.

Poh in Malaysia says
I believe parents are to blame as well as the unscrupulous food manufacturers and their advertisements. Young parents these days do not know how to cook.

Anne in Leeds, UK
First of all, address the problem of lazy parents. You know, the ones who 'can't cook', 'haven't got the time to cook' and who tell you 'my children prefer to watch TV'

Sol in New Zealand says
We should Tax by sugar content

Elwyn in Netherlands says
Obesity is due to greed, laziness, bad parenting, Television, computers, irresponsible food & drink manufacturers and governments loath to intervene for the good of all because they fear losing the next election.

Brian, UK
Fatness is not hereditory and its nothing to do with genes. You are what you eat. No matter what the government does or says it goes in one ear and out the other. The government should give up and put the money to better use.

Kim in Portland, USA
At least in the States, schools should provide healthier meals. But ultimately it is the parent’s responsibility, and they must teach their children the proper way to eat and maintain a healthy lifestyle… and why it’s important.

Tekla, Burbank CA
I think the vendors of processed, fattening fast food should all switch to organic foods and keep their prices. This way they don’t lose their profits and our health does not suffer

Jo in Portland, Oregon, USA
childhood obesity is ABSOLUTELY a form of child abuse. How is it any different than starving your child, beating your child, or touching your child? It will have a lifelong, negative impact on the victim.

Biodun in Ota Nigeria
Parents are to blame for Obesity in children. You should see how so many kids are being spoilt daily. Taking them to fast food joints has become a national pastime in my country. They are ruining their lives because, these kids are ignorant of the consequences.

jack, detroit, michigan
land use patterns, at least here in the u.s., are at least as responsible as parents for child obesity. not only does suburban sprawl normalize adult obesity by requiring everyone to drive everywhere, but childrens' mobility and accessibility are especially limited in many areas in this country.

John in Cleveland
It's not all about the parents

Steve in Utah
One of a parent's most important duties is to teach their children. If parents fail to teach their children proper nutrition and to enjoy physical activity, then they'll allow their kids to live less than fulfilling lives. It is not the government or big business's role to teach children proper eating and exercise habits, its the parents who are responsible.

Tommy says
The topic of obesity is a hot topic here in the United States. So many people have become so obsessed with their weight that they have forgotten to just stop and smell the roses. There’s nothing wrong with MacDonald’s as long as you don’t consume their product seven times a week

Ruth in Oregon, USA
Obesity is NOT just about eating right. It is about stress and the resulting release of Cortisol which increases the chances of obesity. It is about the kinds of food that are cheap--white bread, popcorn, sugar. Fast calories for little money. It is about exercise and safety to be outside exercising. It is about people sitting in front of computers more than being outside.

Joseph in LA
I think it is a good idea to have the threat of the child taken away he or she becomes obese. One case of a man who was so over weight that he could not leave his home. When asked how he got his food, he said from his mother. The mother was his enabler!

Daniel
I think it is absurd for the state to assume responsibility for children who are obese on the premise that this is parent abuse. What's next; the state doesn't like the political views of your children and so that is parent abuse as well?

Jonathan in Portland
It easy to hold parents responsible to the diet of their children, since they control the food coming into the house. However, its important to remember that most parents don't know how harmful the food they give their children is.

Rob in Ohio
I'd like to buy the world a Coke. Since that's beyond my means, I'll be happy too treat Rob and his child.

Gerry
the idea that it is not about the parents is ridiculous. just because fast food and junk food companies offer unhealthy "foods" does not mean anyone has to buy them.

William
Child health is a MAJOR part of parenting. I have twin sons, now 21 years old, and our choices with educating them has paid off.They are lean and active, even though we, the parents, are both a little overweight.

Ian in pittsburgh pennsylvania
The food and snack industry in the USA generates and assails us with products that are healthful for no one.

Sue in portland
do not underestimate the power of marketing. we are absolutely influenced by it. there is a movie about marketing history that shows this

Steve in USA
I'm tired of hearing people blame the media. Kids don't have money. Even if kids see these advertisements, it's the parents that have the money and buy the junk food for the kids.

Mark in porland
The future cost to society of treating and accomodating obese adults justifies treating them as children before this problem continues.

Rania
I think child obesity is seen mostly in America where the culture is all about the bigger the portion size the better. Which is simply not a good way to maintain a healthy diet.

Hunger strikers: Should they be allowed to die?

Steve in USA
Just like with that woman from the Red Army Faction who was convicted of
5 murders and was released after 24 years in Germany. Europe has an incredibly stupid criminal justice system. These are cold blooded killers we're talking about

Mukul
If a person dies on government watch the Human Right watch dogs start crying murder.
If the Government force feeds then also Human Right watch dogs start crying murder.
Is there a way out?

ian from the states says
I can imagine a social handling of this situation by humanely acknowledging this prisoner’s choice to punish or extinguish himself, and respectfully allowing him to die in comfort.

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