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Parents neglecting child health, warns top GP


Parents’ reckless attitudes towards food, alcohol and smoking is putting their children’s health at risk, Britain’s top doctor has said.

Writing in The Observer, Royal College of General Practitioners chairman Professor Steve Field calls on the nation to get fit or face the consequences.

These include exposing children to the risk of dying before their parents, he warns.

His comments echo that of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley who has called on Britons to take more responsibility over their health.

Prof Field said: “The truth is that too many of us neglect our health and this is leading to increasing levels of illness and early death.”

He said that patients should not take offence when GPs tell them to slim down or quit smoking or drinking.

The leading doctor also attack parents’ attitudes, claiming that smoking in cars in front of children is a form of “child abuse”.

He added: “Unless parents exert more control over their children’s diets, they are risking a lifetime of health problems, and even premature death - death before their parents, which is almost too sad to contemplate.”


Readers' comments (5)

  • Absolutely agree.

    Wether it is lack of education or laziness in the case of poor diets and sedentary lifestyles that are passed down to their children, or pure selfishness in smoking, you are HARMING your child.

    A lot of parents attitudes are seriously disgusting.

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  • We can expect more of these ignorant nonsense over the coming years. Blaming individuals, for their inability to raise children, that don't have the necessary skills to lead better lives than their parents.

    To quote the NT "People in the most deprived areas are much more likely to die younger than those in the richest, and things are no better than during the economic depression of the 1930s, the found." This reflection was on the impact on health inequalities in modern Britain.

    Living in Britains poorest areas means you are twice as likely to die before 65 than those from the richest areas. Maybe the blame needs to be focused elsewhere.

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  • Steve, so you don't believe in individual responsibility then?

    Yes socioeconomic factors do play a role, that is a given. HOWEVER, that does not mean that individuals cannot control their behaviour, that does not mean they do not have a choice!

    And I'm sorry, but if a parent - regardless of how they themselves were raised, how ill educated they are or what socioeconomic background they are from - has a child and CHOOSES to feed them crap junk food and sweets every night, CHOOSES to smoke copiously around them etc, then they are making a concious CHOICE to do that, and they are doing blatant harm to their child. It is as simple as that.

    It is about time people took individual responsibility for their actions and everyone stopped making excuses for them.

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  • George Kuchanny

    Mike has already put my point of view but I would like to underscore what he says. In the 50's and 60's the nation was considerably pooreer than it is now despite talk od 'hard times' and suchlike - a working family had very little, housework was hard and cooking a nighmare by todays standards - yet we did better for our kids. Socioeconomic? Another excuse and a lame one at that. What exactly are you doinf sittiing in a CAR, SMOKING? A car was (and is for many) an unaffordable luxury. Socks were darned (repaired for those who have never had a wooden mushroom to repair socks with). Fires had to be laid and set on fire with a match after you had heaved in a coal scuttle - Yes Steve! All true, yet kids were looked after. What we have now is a bunch of useless numbnuts who live in in a fairy world of ureasonable expectations. End of story.

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  • I strongly agree with mike and george. Surely if you choose to have a child then you have a resposibility to keep that child healthy by the likes of diet, exercise and obviously not smoke in a confined environment and risk damaging the childs health. In this day and age everyone is aware of the dangers of smoking. Ignorance is not an excuse.

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