The government's strategy to tackle childhood obesity has been "confused" and "dithering", MPs have claimed.
According to the Public Accounts Committee, ministers' reaction to the growing number of obese youngsters has been too slow and their failure to engage parents in the fight against obesity has added to the strategy's lack of success.
"It is lamentable that, long after the target was set, there is still so much dithering and confusion and still so little coordination," said chairman Edward Leigh.
The chairman also criticised ministers' indecision over whether to tell parents that their children are overweight and warned that the proportion of obese youngsters would "increase sharply" without action.
"If a primary school finds that a child is overweight or obese, then the parents must be informed," he insisted. "The Department of Health must decide on the best way of giving this information to parents who are central to efforts to solve this problem."
The health risks associated with obesity need to be brought home, he claimed, along with the key message that even a small change in behaviour can help a person to lose weight.
However, public health minister Caroline Flint has defended the government's efforts, insisting that "an enormous amount" has been achieved since the evidence for the report was gathered in 2005 and early 2006.
She also said that the government would be monitoring the impact of changes to labelling on food packets, as well as Ofcom's recommendations for limiting junk food adverts to children, and stressed that ministers were "committed to taking further action if necessary".© Adfero Ltd
Obesity treatment news : 25/01/2007