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Training parents to be stricter could reverse obesity epidemic among children, Oxford University study finds

Kim Roberts, chief executive of the Health Exercise Nutrition for the Really Young scheme adopted in Leeds, told how parents are encouraged to be “in charge” of their families. She said: “We want ­parents to be able to hold boundaries, so they are able to say ‘no’ to pester power around snacks.”

Leeds was compared with 15 other cities in England – none of which recorded such a turnaround.

“This kind of reduction is unprecedented,” Mrs Roberts said.

So far 6,000 families in Leeds have been given the lessons, with 625 children a year “saved” from obesity.

Research has shown that if obesity levels continue to rise, then 128,000 UK adults a year will die young by 2030. If the increase was stopped, it would reduce early deaths to around 118,000 annually.

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