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Question Of The Day

Why Are Kids So Fat?

"Because Ben and Jerry's tastes so nice."

So British kids these days are fat. Or fatter than they used to be, at least, according to TV, outraged paunchy, middle-aged people and the Daily Mail. In fact, the Daily Mail claims that the XXXXL size will be introduced next year to cater for "growing teens". But what is it that's making the youth of Britain pile on the pounds? Shitty diets? The fact that playing football on a console is a lot more convenient than leaving your house to do it IRL? Is your level of cool now in direct correlation with how heavily you wheeze after climbing a set of stairs?


I wasn't sure, so I went to seek some advice from people I've never met before. London, why are kids so fat?

Daniel, works at a tech firm: Because Ben and Jerry’s tastes so nice.

Do you think it's the parents' fault? Or technology? Or junk food, maybe?
I don’t know. It's probably the kids fault – they just want to eat fatty food because it tastes nice. I liked eating fatty food. I still like eating fatty food, actually.

So you think maybe it’s the people who keep making this fatty food who are to blame?
No, not all. People sell what people want to buy, so it’s the people's fault.

Were you a fat child?
I guess I was stockier. But I went to a school where I played rugby like three times a week, so I had to exercise, which was good.

Alex, banker: Because they don’t exercise, do they?

Why don't they exercise?
They're lazy – too many computers.

So you think it's technology’s fault?
Yeah, to certain extent. Maybe the parents have something to say as well.

What would you do if one of your kids got fat?
Well, I'd get the whip out. No – but I'd want them to exercise, you know? It makes them feel better and you don’t want them to be fat – it's bad for their health.

That it is.

Dion, administrator: It's the parents – definitely the parents. I have an eight-year-old daughter myself and I make sure I don’t buy her any fizzy drinks and get her loads of vegetables and fruit and stuff instead.

Is it hard to get her to eat that?
No – she doesn't pay the bills or buy the food, so whatever's in the house, she eats. If you buy loads of sweets and crisps, they'll eat those instead.


Did you have an upbringing as healthy as that?
I’m from a Jamaican background, so there was loads of fried food and loads of rice, which I’ve tried to incorporate, but also tried to cut down on.

Jo, works for a consumer insight agency: I wouldn’t say they're all fat, but maybe because they don’t do as much exercise. It's because parents just shove iPads and stuff in front of them rather than dealing with them and making them go outside.

What about food? Did you like junk food when you were little?
No – my mum and dad was pretty good about telling me what was bad for me. Plus, I had two brothers, so I was always out in the garden playing football.

What would you do if your kid got fat?
They would NEVER get fat! If they got fat I would be like, "What is happening at school? Because it's certainly not happening at home."

You tell them, Jo.

Bernard, electrician: It's probably got something to do with kids playing more on their laptops and game consoles so they don't get out as much. There's also a lot more junk food about.

What about the parents? Is it their fault?
Yeah, there's an element of parents eating crappy food and passing that on to their kids. But then these kids get their lunch money and buy whatever they want, so if you bring them up on a healthy diet they're hopefully going to stay on it.

What would you do if your child got fat?
Well, I don’t think I'd let my child get fat. If I had a really fat kid I would have to seek medical advice on the matter. Stomach staples are pretty drastic, though, aren’t they?

Yes – for a child, I think they probably are.

Previously - Would You Have Sex with a Distant Family Member?