PARENTS are blending McDonalds meals into babyfood and feeding small children massive portions of food.
Research for a major new campaign being launched next week to tackle childhood obesity had highlighted the poor choices being made, said Orlaith Blaney, chief executive of McCann Blue advertising agency.
Together with healthy eating body Safefood she had interviewed parents around the country to discuss what children were eating and why, in order to come up with an ad campaign that would help people make healthier choices.
“We questioned mothers in inner city Dublin going to get McDonalds, and blending it and giving it to her young child,” she told the FSAI conference.
Breakfast for a four-year-old boy in Northern Ireland meanwhile had been three bowls of cheerios, two yoghurts, a banana, an apple and three slices of toast.
The mother had told them he was a “great wee eater”.
“These are really serious issues that are happening. That’s the sharp end of the spectrum but there’s all kinds of variations in between,” said Ms Blaney.
Research had shown that two out three Irish consumers said parents were largely responsible for obesity, with 38pc blaming the fast food industry and others blaming fizzy drinks and sweet makers.
Ms Blaney said advertising also played a part as kids saw 5,000 ads a year and the point of these was to make food look delicious and drive sales.
New restrictions on advertising to kids could help but the food industry, government and society all had to play their part, she added.