Would you let your child smoke cigarettes if that’s what they wanted to do? What about knocking back a shot of whisky?

Of course you wouldn’t. The risks attached to both drinking and smoking are too well known, and as a responsible parent you make the right health decisions for your kids, whether they like them or not.

So why do we allow our kids to eat bad food whenever they’d like? And to sit around playing computer games or watching TV when they could be getting some exercise?

It’s up to us to make sure our kids are as healthy and happy as they can be. And that starts and ends at home.

There’s two reasons, I reckon. The first is that it’s simply easier to give in to our kids demands rather than fight to force-feed them healthier options. We’re all busy, we’re all tired, and so the easiest option is the one we take. And trust me, I get it. There’s been plenty of times I’ve resorted to a chocolate bribe to get my two-year-old daughter to do something she doesn’t want to do.

And the second is that, for some reason, junk food just isn’t considered as damaging to our kids’ health as those other, better-known poisons.

But how wrong are we?

An international study has just found that overweight boys are twice as likely to develop bowel cancer — the second most common cancer in Australian men — when they get older than kids that are a healthy weight.

Think about that for second, by feeding our children rubbish and not introducing regular exercise into their routines, we are doubling their chances of contracting a potentially lethal disease when they’re older.

And the thing with overweight kids — and studies have found as many as 30,000 Aussie children may be obese — is that we all look at them as some kind of mystery, like we just can’t understand how they got that way. But the answer is simple; they eat too much junk food, and too much sugar in particular, and they don’t exercise enough.

Adam MacDougall

Read More: How We Can Tackle Childhood Obesity

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