In an effort to tackle a growing obesity problem, politicians in the United Kingdom are urging parents to forego placing their tots in strollers in favor of making them walk, reports the UK’s Daily Mail.
The UK’s National Health Service now spends £4.2 billion (approximately $6.7 billion) a year on costs related to obesity. As such, officials say that some of the responsibility now falls to the parents to encourage a fitter lifestyle for their children in order to curb these rising costs—which are predicted to be as high as $16 billion in 2050 according to a 2007 Foresight report. This means that children ages 3 and up should be made to walk for short trips in an effort to get them to exercise more, according the public health minister, Anne Milton.
“By taking steps such as encouraging their children to walk to school, to eat healthily or stop using buggies on short trips at the age of three, they can help ensure their children lead an active life,” said Nickie Aiken, Westminster council’s cabinet member for children.
Westminster leads the obesity rate in London (where 1 in 5 children are now obese), with 28.6 percent of 10- to 11-year-olds deemed dangerously overweight.
“We have to acknowledge that childhood obesity is a growing problem and while local authorities have a part to play it is ultimately the responsibility of parents and carers to tackle this issue,” Ms. Aiken said.
She added: “I get very frustrated when I see children as old as five in a buggy. We should start to stop using the buggy as much as we can from three.”
Do you think ditching strollers can make children healthier? How old is too old for a child to be hanging out in a stroller?