A weight loss expert is being criticised online after revealing he believes “fat parents” are to blame for the childhood obesity epidemic.
Steve Miller appeared on This Morning to discuss the idea that children undergo a yearly weigh-in at school - as recommended by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which stated in a new report that children should be weighed annually between the ages of two and 18.
According to Miller, he agrees with the idea that children should be weighed at school because “we have got a problem".
"We are now in a situation where we’ve got a big child obesity epidemic,” he said.
Miller, who has no children of his own, then explained that he thinks parents should be responsible and held accountable for “the health and weight” of their child - because “we are normalising fat.”
“And actually, if you’re not willing to take that on, you shouldn’t have kids,” he said, before suggesting childhood obesity is “often because the parents are too fat.”
Miller’s comments have since sparked backlash online from people angered at his suggestions - especially because he does not have children.
“This bloke’s a clown on This Morning, who has NO KIDS and NO IDEA!” one viewer tweeted.
1. Steve's behavior in this interview is completely rude & unhelpful. 2. Weighing kids will not stop obesity. How about instead of all the time & money wasted on weighing the kids they use that money to have healthy living classes? Teach kids the benefits of being active.
— tech-dinosaur (@Tech_Dino_45) October 22, 2018
Another person said: “Tackling obesity should NOT be done through periodic weighing and shaming of children. PE needs to be a larger part of the curriculum and home economics taught properly.”
“Who is this outspoken fool talking about obesity this morning? Can’t he give the woman a break and let her finish what she’s saying?” another asked.
Others took offence with Miller’s suggestion that weighing children would not likely trigger eating disorders such as anorexia - as well as his claim that children are not dying of the disorder.
Debate about weighing children in school on #ThisMorning fails to realise that weighing children to 'prevent obesity' does nothing to help them and actively feeds into a diet culture that is known to be a factor in causing eating disorders in a lot of young people
— 🍂🍁 (H)ELLen 🍁🍂 (@elconroy_) October 22, 2018
“People ARE dying of anorexia. Me nearly being one of them. Do you want a list of names of the friends I have lost? Furious,” one person tweeted, while another viewer asked: “Who is this bloke on This Morning arguing about how many kids have died of anorexia?”
During the segment, journalist and mother Rachel Halliwell took the opposite approach, suggesting that teachers could teach children about weight in a positive way, such as teaching them how to cook healthy meals.
“I think we need far more intelligent solutions than sticking kids on scales,” she said.
In the UK, obesity affects one in five children aged 10 to 11, according to the NHS, and over a third of children left primary school overweight last year.
According to Anorexia and Bulimia Care, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder in adolescence in the UK.