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CHICAGO -- Parents, not fast-food restaurants, are most responsible for the rise of obesity in American children, according to a new ACNielsen survey.
Two out of three U.S. households surveyed by ACNielsen said the parent or guardian was to blame for obesity in children age 17 and under, with fast-food restaurants blamed by only 10 percent and food manufacturers named by only 1 percent.
The child received the most blame from 9 percent of the 22,000 households that responded, while advertising on television, radio and other media received 7 percent of the blame, according to ACNielsen.
More than three out of four households said schools should adopt new policies to address child obesity, according to ACNielsen. Forty-one percent called for an outright ban on the sale or consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages in schools, while 38 percent said they should not be sold but that students should be allowed to bring them.
Even when allowed to name more than one culprit for childhood obesity, parents took the bulk of the blame, with 86 percent of households saying parents or guardians have at least some responsibility, while fast food restaurants were named 60 percent of the time. Manufacturers came in at the bottom of the list, named by only 18 percent of households.
"Many manufacturers were somewhat relieved to see how low the score was for households placing blame on manufacturers," Todd Hale, senior VP at ACNielsen Consumer Insights, said in an interview with Reuters.
Ninety percent of those surveyed were either very concerned or somewhat concerned with child obesity, the survey said.