Re Marie Kaire's letter "Obesity Answer" (February 19).

Interesting letter Marie, however, you left out the most important contributing factor; the lack of personal discipline and parental responsibility.

Yes, soft drinks and sugar intake are a major contributor to obesity and tooth decay, but the lack of responsible parenting where some modern parents seem unable to say "no" to their little Johnny or Jane is a major cause.

As a consequence many children are grazing throughout the day on soft drinks, chips and other junk food exercising only their fingers while sitting at either their PlayStation or iPad; a problem no government can solve.

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Water is virtually free and any parent can fill a bottle with it to go with a homemade nutritious lunch for their offspring. Absence of motivation is a greater issue than lack of money. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are relatively inexpensive and compared with takeaways and other junk food they are cheap.

Yes, having to contribute $15 in every $100 spent on food to government coffers borders on the obscene and is unfair to the poor. GST definitely favours those with surplus income.

This though can be offset to some degree by a vegetable garden. Children helping to grow their own vegetables is more therapeutic both physically and mentally for them than a PlayStation.

Sadly there is a section of our community who believe government is responsible for their total wellbeing. Not so.

David F Little
Whangarei

Original letter from February 19: Obesity answer

If the government is truly serious (are they about any issue?) about child obesity they would take the following steps.

Raise the price of soft drinks, cereals, fruit sticks, icecream, packaged and fast foods.

Impose a "sugar tax" (they do it with tobacco each year, why is it in the too hard basket?)

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Lower the price of water, fresh fruit and vegetables, and give a living wage so families can afford them and save millions that the govt currently spends on "fruits in schools".

Give more support to local sports clubs, fees, equipment and subsidise swimming pools and learn to swim lessons, to make sport affordable for all children. Loosen the rules that restrict children from being adventurous.

No, the Government is not prepared to do any of this because it would impinge on the toes of big money corporates and ordinary NZers must be kept in their place of inequality on the poverty line.

Shame on the Government that one third of all NZ children are now obese.

By the Government inaction, the health providers become the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

Would it not make more economic sense to address this issue now instead of later. Money rules!

Marie Kaire
Ngararartunua, Whangarei

What do you think? Comment below.