Fat children? The answer lies with their parents

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Let’s face facts. Walk along any busy street in Portsmouth and you won’t fail to notice people who are fat. Not simply those who are overweight, but those who, in the clinical profession’s judgment, are obese.

And we’re not just talking about adults, but a growing numbers of children.

So, what to do? Things, clearly, cannot go on like this. So it is encouraging to see the launch of the Portsmouth Food Partnership – hopefully a step in the right direction.

Highbury College is leading a cross-section of businesses and organisations in a drive to encourage people to lead healthier lives.

Key partners are Queen Alexandra Hospital and the city council.

It means Portsmouth joins 32 other cities in the Sustainable Food Cities network – cities in which the emphasis is on getting people to take some exercise and eat healthily and not spend a fortune in the process.

The rise in obesity levels in the city do not make for pleasant reading.

Megan Saunders, the food project co-ordinator, said: ‘Urban living brings with it a plethora of complex health issues, including poor diet and sedentary lifestyles.

‘In Portsmouth, this brings with it unsustainable social, economic and environmental costs.

‘We are setting up the Portsmouth Food Partnership because this situation cannot continue.’

This is all very worthy, but surely one of the solutions, if not the main one, begins at home. With the parents.

Children learn by example. If they see their parents drinking sugar-laden fizzy drinks, they’ll copy them.

If they are always bundled into a car to drive from one side of Portsea Island to the other instead of walking, they’ll know no better and the fat die is cast.

Getting them to change their ways is the real challenge – a generation which has enjoyed cheap fast food and slothfulness.

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