As part of the IDEFICS obesity intervention study, baseline opinions about key issues were elicited from the parents of children about to take part in the intervention in eight European countries. This was done by a questionnaire, in which a set of questions was specifically designed to investigate attitudes towards ethical and public-policy aspects of interventions on healthy lifestyle and diet. The aim of these questions was partly to elicit parents’ views concerning the ethics and effectiveness of interventions, responsibilities of schools and parents themselves, and also to gain some indication as to how parents might view some of the policy options available.
Here we present analysis of three of the questions on public-policy regarding healthy eating:
1. “I feel that the authorities don’t do enough to support healthy eating.”
2. “There should be a controlled restriction on advertising of high-fat and high-sugar foods.”
3. “Very unhealthy foods should be highly taxed while healthy foods should be
We report here that there are statistically significant differences between the
respondents both by country, and by gender. There is strong support among parents for controlled restriction on advertising of high-fat and high-sugar foods, as well as supporting of taxation of ‘unhealthy’ foods and subsidising of ‘healthy’ foods. In most countries men are more critical of authorities’ support of healthy eating than women, and they are also more in favour of taxation and subsidising of certain types of food.