Reading that there’s been a record rise in obesity among children is heartbreaking. According to official statistics, one fourth of 11 and 10-year-olds living in England are obese.

A lifetime of stigma can come with them at that point. This includes type 2 diabetes, heart attacks strokes, cancers, and other health conditions. Their peers make them feel ashamed and they are not invited out to social events or in games teams.

The NHS should introduce programs where specialists in psychology and science of size assess children who are obese from 2-18 years old. They will then work with them to lose weight and help them get healthy.

But something important has been missing in all I’ve read about plans for these clinics. Parents.

Jenni Murray claims parents should be the first port of call for anyone trying to help children lose weight (file image)

Jenni Murray says parents should be first to reach out to if they want their children to lose weight. File image

Parents should always be first to call if they want to assist their children in losing weight. This can prevent them from enjoying childhood, and could also threaten the NHS’s financial stability.

Since childhood, my own weight has been an issue. Since the time I had surgery to lose nearly half of my body weight eight years ago, it has been a constant concern that what others put in their grocery carts.

Most children, until they’re teenagers, eat only what their parents provide. Disappointingly, trolleys are laden with chips, pizzas., biscuits. cakes.

Rarely have I seen a week’s worth of fruit, vegetables and ingredients for home cooking.

Obesity is not a simple matter. Our bodies are different in size and our metabolisms play an important role. But obesity’s primary cause is the consumption of too much of the wrong kind of food and a sedentary lifestyle. It isn’t the fault of the child who becomes overweight. It is up to parents to learn how best they can care for their children.

Knowing the power of a parent’s influence is something I can attest to. My mother was a great cook, who only used the highest quality ingredients. She didn’t understand the importance of eating. She worked tirelessly to prepare the meals that she loved. My appetite was severely affected by her. I was served huge amounts of food. She was furious when I told her I was satisfied. I never learnt how to stop when I’d had enough.

Jenni Murray (pictured) said making a child ashamed of their size just leads to loneliness and misery, so it's important to educate parents about the psychological aspect of weight too

Jenni Murray (pictured), said that making children ashamed about their weight leads to misery and loneliness. It’s also important for parents to be educated on the psychological aspects of weight. 

She became obsessed with my obesity as I grew up and gained weight. As she shamed, I tried almost every diet. I lost weight, then my hormones kicked in, made me hungry and I regained all I’d lost and more. My mother’s shame drove me to comfort eat until her death.

Which is why it’s so important to educate parents about the psychological aspect of weight, too. So let’s not call such clinics Fat Camps. It was famously chubby actor James Corden who said, ‘If fat-shaming worked, there’d be no more fat kids in school’.

Make a child feel ashamed about their weight is a recipe for misery and isolation. What is there for a fat child who’s teased and excluded by their peers? Nothing except to hide away at home, watching television, glued to a phone or tablet and finding comfort the only way they know — eating.

The science of obesity is well-documented. I hope the dietitians, psychologists and paediatricians running these clinics will ensure it’s not just the kids who learn how to eat and exercise properly. It is also important to teach the fathers and mothers how to eat properly.

Now Let’s get this Straight, I loathe seams

Jenni admits she shrieked with horror at the photo of Anya Taylor-Joy (pictured), named Face of the Year at the 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York

Jenni admits she shrieked with horror at the photo of Anya Taylor-Joy (pictured), named Face of the Year at the 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York

The photo of Anya Taylor Joy, who was named the Face of the year at the 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards New York in New York, made me scream with terror. Her purple Oscar de la Renta minidress was what upset me. It wasn’t her legs that bothered me. The bane of my teenage years was my mother’s constant question: ‘Are my seams straight?’ and her ‘Straighten your seams, love.’ Please, please tell me they are not coming into fashion again.

Our right to pee is up for grabs!

The number of street-side men seems to be on the rise. I hate it. It’s vulgar, unhygienic and smelly and, of course, something women can’t do with any discretion if taken short.

Finding a public restroom is nearly impossible. In the last six years, there has been a 19% decline in local toilets. Friends advise nipping into a Costa, a McDonald’s or even a pub, but no one wants to risk being told, ‘Our facilities are provided only for our customers.’ So embarrassing in front of a crowd.

For the 1851 Great Exhibition, the first public toilet was built. Several more toilets were built the year after, mostly for men. A term known as the ‘urinary leash’ became commonplace. The assumption that women were at home was a place they should be was not possible for them to change. They couldn’t go further than their bladders would let them, which, when older, is not far.The real push for women’s facilities came as department stores developed. For them to be successful, they had to bring women in to the city. They had the ladies. And now they’re going. It’s political. We must fight for the Right to Pee, or we’ll be back on the ‘urinary leash’, tied to the home for lack of a suitable convenience.

As another series of I'm A Celebrity (pictured) begins, Jenni admits she still feels sorry for the spiders

Jenni feels sorry for the spiders as she begins another episode of I’m A Celebrity.

  • Some ten years ago, I was asked if I’d like to go to Australia to take part in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! My ‘No!’ was instant.

I’m no arachnophobe, so I wasn’t scared of bugs descending on me. Frankly, it was a horrible feeling to feel sorry for them. As another series, see above, is about to start.

It’s a sad day when men have to speak for us

Lord Blencathra, a Lord, proposed an amendment to Bill on Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts. He argues that women’s prisons should no longer be allowed to house trans women who are guilty of violent or sexual offences and may have male genitalia.

Astonishingly, he told the House more men than women had spoken on the issue, as even though ‘many noble Baronesses’ had asked him privately to raise this question of the safety and privacy of women, they told him, ‘We dare not speak out’.

It is shocking to think that powerful transgender women would be subjected to the frightful threats of cancellation or worse from their opponents.