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Obesity report doomed to gather dust

Media release

From parent.org

For immediate release: 9/6/05

Obesity report doomed to gather dust.

A report just released showing that parents have missed the healthy eating message, and that most parents can’t recognise obesity in their own children is unlikely to produce the desired changes, claims parent lobby group, Parent.org.

“This report is done with the best intent and the information is very sobering,” said spokesperson, Steve Gore, “but dumping another load of guilt on parents is not going to make them all throw out the chips and fill their shopping trolleys with the fruit and vege.”

The group claims that before the vast majority of parents will respond proactively to important messages like this one there needs to be a complete paradigm shift in government’s relationship with parents.

“Government has encouraged the growth of business, sport, education and cultural sectors which are geared towards success, with messages and resources put towards achieving that,” said Mr. Gore. “Our parenting environment is focused on failure. You can see this difference virtually every day. The news carries stories of business and sports success and stories of child abuse and neglect – or parental failure.”

The group asserts that when valuable information is put into the different environments it is accepted in different ways. In a success focused environment information is welcomed and assimilated and used to build greater success. In a failure focused environment similar news simply looks like blame and is likely to be ignored. This is why schools have picked up healthy eating messages but parents haven’t.

“Consider a young father.” Mr Gore suggested. “We can easily imagine him to be a bloke who would never miss rugby training but never consider going on a parenting course. Even if he plays in the lowest ranked team in the club and regularly loses, playing rugby makes him feel successful and he wants to do his best at it, but to attend a parenting course feels like an admission of failure. The challenge for government is to get that father feeling the same way about his role as a parent as he does about his role as a football player - to be the best parent he can be and actively look for information, resources and support to achieve success. When his head is there we won’t be spending money on obesity reports because the problem won’t be there.”

Ends.

Background: Parent.org started this year to promote the social capital thinking around parenting. They believe that in order for our children to grow up safe and well nurtured a parenting environment must be built that encourages success, rather than sets ‘avoiding failure’ as the benchmark of achievement for parents. They believe that in taking this approach we will set society on a course of prosperity and social cohesion.

www.parent.org.nz

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