Fast Food, 'Child Abuse'? British Politician Chris Brewis Says Yes

09/24/2012 12:05 pm ET | Updated Sep 24, 2012

British politician Chris Brewis, an independent councilor in Lincolnshire, recently took to BBC Radio to issue a harsh takedown of parents who allow their children to eat fast food, comparing the dietary stance to "child abuse."

Brewis argued that because the consumption of fast food increases childrens' risk for obesity and its attendant diseases, such as diabetes, it's negligent of parents to allow their kids to chow down. But his interviewer wasn't willing to let the loaded phrase "child abuse" go unchallenged, so she asked him to clarify his position.

"Obsessive use of fast food and the obesity epidemic -- partly caused by food and partly caused by lifestyle -- means that probably in future years, in twenty years, children having severe health problems or dying before their parents will become commonplace. And we need to tackle it now," Brewis responded.

Yet Brewis also said that he didn't think that parents should be barred by law from allowing their children to eat fast food.

"Clearly, there's nothing illegal with fast food or food with excess fat," he said on the radio show. "But we should start to reduce it with small changes. If you go five times a week, go twice. If you go three, go once. If you go seven, go three or four!"

Health advocates and politicians have also been concerned about childhood obesity and fast food on our side of the pond. Here, policy interventions have focused on taxes on unhealthy foods and so-called "Happy Meal Bans," which try to stop fast food chains from including toys in meals for kids.

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