Page last updated at 21:09 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Scrubbing Up: Your comments

In this week's Scrubbing Up, England's chief medical officer argues many people are still failing to deal with the realities of the obesity problem.

Sir Liam Donaldson said: "'obesity' has become the new 'cancer'. A word that is taboo, that intimidates, that strikes fear, that promotes softer euphemisms."

You have been sending in your comments on Scrubbing Up.


It's not the word that's the problem, it's people's attitudes. People are obese because they don't take the personal responsibility to be healthy. Obesity is just a word, so to allow anyone to hide behind the word under the guise of political correctness merely confirms that they are not facing up to their health problem. It doesn't matter how much food is sold cheaply in supermarkets, it's up to individual households to take the responsibility to buy the right food, cook the right quantities, and to get the right type of exercise.
David, Cheshire

Surely the issue is standard of living? How can we expect parents on the poverty line and on benefits to afford fresh fruit and vegetables, when high-salt, high-calorie foods are much cheaper and often easier to prepare? This is a complex issue of education for parents as well as the price of healthy food. I am a slim young professional on a good wage and I find healthy food expensive. I can't imagine how it is for single parents families, especially in these financial times.
Catherine, London

One factor in the problem is processed food. Typically it contains high levels of salt, sugar and fat, with little nutritional value. The snacking culture is also a problem. As a child I was given three meals a day. We had no snacks, apart from an occasional biscuit. We were also active - walking to school, playing active games in the playground, playing out in the street with friends after school, at weekends and in school holidays. We didn't sit watching TV as there was no TV during the daytime. Stop feeding kids junk, let them play and they will not only lose weight but will also be happier.
Fifi, Basingstoke

I hear all the words about how today's children are fatter than my generation, then look around my local school playground and at my own kids. Yes there are kids who are obese, but they are the exception not the rule. Maybe Burwell is an unusually healthy village, in my family's case it is due to the fact that I was taught to cook by my parents, and I provide a healthy diet for my children, and they run it off around the playground and during the summer months run it off outside in the garden.
Joanna Debenham, Burwell, Cambridgeshire

The softly, softly approach obviously doesn't work. If my little boy was in any danger of being overweight, I would rather be told. Then I could do something about it. If your child is obese, why shouldn't you be made to feel bad about it? Too many parents overindulge their children and replace time and emotion with food and television. Maybe if parents were made to feel responsible for their own children they would more actively try to stop them becoming obese in the first place, instead of blaming the food industry or the government.
S, Lancashire

We are becoming a nation of overweight people but as everyone knows there are only two solutions. Eat less and exercise more. If we want fitter and less obese children we need to make healthier food cheaper than junk food and until this happens we will follow America down the path of overweight, lazy, unfit people burdening the health service. Yes some of this is self inflicted but it needs a joint effort from schools and parents to make sure our children don't all become obese. It's no use just blaming the government - they don't feed us.
Steve, Romford, UK

People aren't facing up to it. People moan about the cost of food, but it's cheaper to make your own burgers than go and have a fast food one. And a lot healthier! People are lazy. They need to be taught from a young age about exercise, diet, and the consequences.
Daniel Howard, Lincoln, Lincs

While there are genetic predispositions to becoming overweight, for the most part childhood obesity is the fault of negligent parents who should take greater care of their children's diets. The importance of a healthy diet is not properly understood, parents quiver at the thought of children abusing alcohol, yet obesity carries a much higher risk, doubling an individual's risk of death.
Edward Benton, Belfast

I think parents are to blame if their children are obese. Who else can possibly be at fault. We as a society never want to face anything these days. We have to be politically correct in every case and never face the problem head on. Obesity is caused by eating too much. People eat to much, they get fat. It has nothing to do with exercise. People that don't over eat, don't need to spend three sessions a week in the gym. We have all been brainwashed into eating low fat food over the last 20 years and according to an article in the Independent last week there is no evidence that this benefits us at all. In fact we have had this obesity problem since they introduced 'low fat' and because low fat foods contain more sugar we now have a diabetes problem to boot. Stick to eating a balanced diet, don't snack and put less on your plate. It's simple.
Carron Freeney, Wokingham

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