Have you heard the news? Jamie Oliver is off to parliament to discuss the constant stream of junk food adverts aimed at our kids and their parents. People across all social media platforms are joining him in support using the hashtag #AdEnough and the strapline:

"I'm with my mate @jamieoliver. I've #AdEnough of kids being bombarded with junk food ads. It's a fact that the more junk food ads young people see, the more junk food they eat. Currently the only ad-blocker they've got is covering their eyes. We need the government to act"

I'm with him. There is a rise in childhood obesity. A quarter of children aged between two and ten are overweight or obese (taken from www.Nuffieldtrust.org.uk) and us adults are following suit. We've forgotten how to feed ourselves and our families healthy meals. The rise in fast, cheap and easy meals has caused us to be guzzling fat and sugar like it's going out of fashion. Our children are struggling to get the recommended 5-7 portions of fruit and veg in their diets and there is a common thread on every parenting blog, "how do I get my children to eat vegetables?". But it's not just healthy eating which is the problem. Kids aren't moving anymore. Fitness levels have dropped as childrens' desire to thrash it out on the latest version of Call Of Duty outweighs the need to feel the fresh air on their faces as they whip down a hill on a bike. 

So who is responsible? Is it really the junk food adverts which are to blame? Or as parents should we be taking responsibility - after all, they are OUR children and we have the control over what goes into our children's mouths.

That's the crux of the issue for me. When I look at my lifestyle I see that I'm hardly setting the right example to my children. I can't remember the last time I kicked a football around, hopped on a bike or went for a run. I don't do any organised sport, nor do I make an effort to walk instead of using the car. How can I expect my children to do any different? Eating is the same. Whilst I do cook healthy meals and make sure that my children eat an 80% healthy diet (they are partial to a biscuit and a slice of cake at times), my late night snacking has gotten out of control and, when faced with a healthy meal or a fast food one I'll happily choose the fast food option. If I can't control my eating then how can I be demonstrating a healthy lifestyle to my children. 

My children's eating and exercise habits are my responsibility. I buy the food. I decide on our activities day in and day out. I can choose to change our relationship to eating and exercising and, to some extent, if I build the right foundation into my children then it doesn't matter what they happen to see on TV, they'll know what's good for them and they'll naturally lean towards it. We shouldn't be going crazy over this though either. There is no need to start weighing our children obsessively and sticking them on crazy diets (unless a GP has recommended you take this course of action), we simply need to find the balance again. It's time for us to step up and take responsibility for our families. It's time for us to start really looking at whether we are managing to set a good example ourselves or if a little extra discipline is needed in order to create a healthy family lifestyle where our children are able to thrive with a healthy attitude towards eating and exercise. 


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