'No food should be taboo': how to tackle your child's weight – without giving them a complex

A third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Here’s how parents can help them forge good habits and avoid creating lifelong insecurities

Jusna Begum lives near the South Bank in London with her four children, aged between one and 11. When a health visitor told her that her three-year-old girl was “on the chubby side”, Begum was surprised. “I didn’t think she was at all; I had felt like my children weren’t eating enough.”

She did, however, accept an invitation to join a six-week healthy parenting programme called Henry. Four weeks in, she has rebooted her family’s lifestyle, from making dinner times earlier to allow for more activity before bed to the food she prepares. Coming from an Asian background, says Begum, “There’s a lot of fatty food – we use a lot of oil and salt in curries.” Her children also loved drinking juice and snacking on crisps and chocolate after school. “I would just allow them,” she says, incredulously. “I thought it was normal.”

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