Students blame parents for child obesity crisis


More than half of 12 to 16-year-olds believe parents are to blame for the childhood obesity crisis, while 26 per cent say children themselves are most responsible.

Only one per cent of the age group blamed teachers, while four per cent said ministers were at fault.

Thirty-one per cent of boys and 29 per cent of girls in England are overweight or obese according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which carried out the online study.

It quizzed a total of 767 children aged eight to 16, including 429 aged 12 to 16.

The poll also revealed what the BHF says is a “worrying lack” of cooking skills among teenagers. 

Around 13 per cent said they were unable to complete basic tasks such as scrambling eggs, making a fruit scone, spaghetti bolognaise, homemade pizza or preparing a fruit salad by themselves – all tasks that national guidelines and the curriculum say they should be capable of.

Furthermore, 10 per cent said they couldn’t peel and chop an onion, peel a potato or peel and grate a carrot by themselves.  Mandatory cooking lessons for pupils up to year 9 are being introduced from next year and the BHF is promoting its own resources for schools.

Its free Take Away Health Lessons pack contains 12 individual curriculum-linked 60-minute lesson plans to help 11 to 14-year-old pupils understand the importance of healthy eating and the impact it can have on the body.

Victoria Taylor, senior heart health dietitian at the BHF, said: “Parents have a huge influence on their children’s lives. But there’s a crucial role for teachers too. Reinforcing the value of healthy eating by adopting measures in the School Food Plan and helping pupils understand what’s in their food and how it can affect them is vital if we want to turn the tide on our current childhood obesity epidemic.

“To help teachers, we’ve created a variety of free resources for use in the classroom to strip away the perception of healthy eating as dull and boring.”

Schools can order the pack online at


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