Sunday 25 February 2018

'Your parents should have taken some kind of action' - Dr Ciara Kelly on Brendan O'Connor being overweight as a child

Dr Ciara on Cutting Edge
Dr Ciara on Cutting Edge
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Dr Ciara Kelly has placed the blame for children being overweight squarely at the feet of their parents.

During her appearance on Wednesday night's Cutting Edge on RTE One, the Newstalk presenter referenced a newspaper article which asked, 'How should I tell my child they're fat?' and revealed she had a very "visceral" reaction to it.

"I was horrified because you should never tell your child that they're fat," she said.  "Because if you recognise that you have a child that is overweight you shouldn't be trying to think, 'how will I tell them about it', you should be doing something about it."

She continued, "Parents are responsible for their kids.  Parents do the cooking, they do the grocery shopping, they control the activity of their kids and if you have recognised that your child is putting on weight this is not a thing to have a big chat about, this is a thing to say I need to buy different food, I need to throw out the chicken nuggets and the chips and the potato waffles and I need to buy some carrots and onions and get some apples and oranges in."

She said parents need to get their children to walk to school or join the local GAA club to increase activity.

"I'm just frightened of this idea that parents are kind of going, 'how do we talk about this?' and surrender responsibility to it, and we talk to the child about it and include the child. 

"Kids don't become overweight overnight."

Host Brendan O'Connor asked whether she was saying it is the parents' fault.

"I think the parents have to take responsibility," she replied.  "It doesn't happen overnight.  Weight creeps up on the kid and it's hard on a kid, it's really hard on a kid when they put on weight.  They struggle at school."

She continued, "It upsets me that parents are thinking how I'm going to talk about this.  Change the shopping, change the cooking, do something to help your kid.  It's not about a chat, it's about taking action."

When Dr Ciara revealed that she has four children Brendan asked her if she has ever had to deal with an overweight child amongst her own children.

"No, my kids are not overweight," she said, adding, "I don't buy loads of loads of crap."

Brendan asked, "What if there's a parent that feeds their kids all the same as what you feed your kids, exercise as much as your kids, but the kid is still overweight or obese? That can happen, can't it?  I don't know, it's in their genes isn't it?"

When he mentioned other adults who can eat the same as him but not put on the same amount of weight, she said it is different with children because "their metabolism is super fast because they're gorwing."

"So any child overweight, that is the fault of their parents?" asked Brendan.

Dr Ciara asked him to think of how many people were overweight when they were young and Brendan revealed that he had been overweight but other people in his family were not.

"How is that my parents' fault? he asked.

"I think in that case your parents should have taken some kind of action," replied Dr Ciara.

Brendan concluded by saying, "My parents are not in the dock here".

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