Jamie Oliver said urgent action is needed to stop childhood obesity

Original article in DailyMail.co.uk

Parents who cook fresh meals to prevent their children reaching for junk food can prolong their lives by up to 13 years, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has said.

Mr Oliver said children are not programmed to reach for fatty and sugary snacks, and so it is a parent’s job to make healthy food appealing.

He called for councils to ban junk food vendors near to schools, and said sugar should be taxed, with the money raised invested in food education.

Mr Oliver’s call to arms comes after shocking figures released last week show one in ten children are obese when they start primary school at the age of four or five.

The figures rises to one in five by the final year of primary school when they are ten or 11.

Obese children are more likely to remain obese as adults, shoring up problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

They are also at greater risk of suffering bone and joint problems, sleep apnoea, stigma because of their weight and developing low self-esteem as a result.

Experts today wholeheartedly agreed with Mr Oliver’s comments, saying parents have a responsibility to help their children avoid obesity.

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Oliver said: ‘Kids are not born and programmed to pick up a nugget, or a burger.

‘So it’s our job to make salads, salsas, veg appealing and gorgeous.

‘If you can learn to cook you can save money and you will possibly put 11- 13 years on your children’s life.

‘Look at wholefoods, swap out regular pastas for whole wheat pastas. Get involved, have fun with food.

He added: ‘While councils still allow many, many junk food vendors to be outside schools we will have a problem.

‘While sugar can get into so much things without being taxed, and that money being put back into food education, we will have a problem.’

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