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Relationship quality and the UK's obesity epidemic

Published in Press Releases on February 19th 2013

Academy of Royal Medical Colleges' plan for tackling obesity is only half the answer, says TCCR.

While we give a limited welcome to the proposals put forward in the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges' prescription for tackling the nation's obesity crisis, 'Measuring Up', the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships believes that more emphasis should be placed on the psychological factors involved in the development of child obesity, particularly in relation to parenting.

TCCR fears that a continued focus on 'concrete' measures and approaches - such as limited the number of fried food outlets near schools and teaching parents how to cook food - will be insufficient to prevent vast numbers of our children suffering the profoundly deleterious effects of child obesity.

It is not only TCCR which hold this view. For example, Professor Mary Rudolf, in her 2009 review of evidence to the Department of Health, 'Tackling Obesity Through The Healthy Child Programme: A Framework For Action' stated: "Parents strongly influence their children’s lifestyle. This goes beyond the food they provide for their children and the activities they encourage them to do. They influence them through the way they feed them, the way they present themselves as role models, the foods and activities they make available and accessible in the home, and the parenting style they adopt."

Commenting on the Academy's report, Richard Meier, Policy Manager at TCCR, said: "We need to adopt a strategy which pays much more attention to the psychological factors involved if we are really to make progress in reducing the nation’s obesity."

"The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships", added Susanna Abse, Chief Executive of TCCR, "is the last place that would suggest that parents should be blamed for the obesity of their children; however, we must face up to the very real consequences for children's health of poor parenting style and poor relationship quality between parents if we are truly to tackle the child obesity epidemic."


Notes to editors:

Established in 1948, The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships ( & ) is the leading charity provider of highly specialised and affordable couple and parent counselling and psychotherapy. We also offer a range of other relationship, parenting and psychosexual support services throughout London.

Further information

  • Paula Scott, PR consultant T: 07932 740221, E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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