Parents to be helped to identify child obesity

In collaboration with the Press Association

A new government health initiative will help fight rising child obesity by helping parents to identify if their children are at risk.

The Healthy Living plan will help to inform parents about weight and its relationship to health, challenge preconceptions about healthy diets and offer ways to get more exercise.

It follows a report from the Medical Research Council (MRC) claiming that parents are unaware that their children are overweight.

Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of cancers in the UK and is thought to be a factor in up to a quarter of all cancer deaths.

The government has set a target of halving the annual growth in childhood obesity among the under-11s by 2010.

"Our evidence shows that parents face challenges in promoting healthy eating and physically active lifestyles," said co-author of the MRC report Dr Susan Jebb.

"This report focuses on families, but tackling obesity will require unprecedented change across the whole of society."