Do we need TV to tackle childhood obesity?

Anyone with children will probably be well aware of some of the most famous channels for kids on our screens. What’s more, you will have probably have noticed a remarkable change in the sort of programmes that they have been showing over the years. Without a doubt childrens’ programming now accepts the influential aspect of itself and is aiming to promote the ‘right’ message to our kids. 

But what has all that got to do with health and fitness? Well, last week we heard that the Disney Channel was accepting this responsibility by dedicating some of their most popular shows to promoting a positive healthy message for kids. Shows like The Lion Guard and Star Wars Rebels will now take on this responsibility and promoting healthy nutrition and exercise for children.

The question for us is should we be expecting our televisions to be telling children what they should and shouldn’t be eating? With the growing level of obesity in society I think most people accept that something needs to be done. For now at least, people are reluctant to send their children to the gym and get them a personal trainer and, to that extent, they take on the responsibility of ensuring they are as healthy as possible themselves.

The level of mandatory PE in UK primary schools is something that has been increasingly criticised and probably needs addressing. In addition, primary school teachers often don’t possess the required level of expertise to deliver lessons to the same quality as secondary education and therefore there has been an emphasis on bringing in experts from outside to improve the quality of primary school PE.

This also means that parents have to accept some part of the responsibility too. Particularly in their younger life, children have little say over what they eat and the amount of exercise that they do. So that means that parents have to take on that burden themselves. Many argue that it shouldn’t be the role of schools, let alone the Disney Channel, to educate children and that their education should start at home.

In reality, how is this achieved? A lot of it comes down to what parents eat. A child who sees their parent eating foods that they aren’t allowed to eat is inevitably going to question why there is one rule for them and another for you. It seems obvious that parents who eat more healthily are invariably going to find it easier to encourage their children to do the same.

Childhood obesity is an issue that this blog discusses frequently because of the massive impacts it has on healthcare in later life. The argument of whose responsibility it is to deal with the issue won’t be resolved here but it seems obvious that it is going to take a collaboration of ideas.

Ollie Lawrence
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