Childhood obesity - 'There is a case for doing more to help'

Most parents will probably be shocked by our revelation today that Lothian five-year-olds are officially the most obese in Scotland.

But much of the surprise will be among those whose own kids aren't overweight, especially those who struggle to get food down their hyperactive youngsters.

It is, in fact, too easy to overstate the extent of the obesity problem we face these days - so easy that an entire industry has been created around it.

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We wouldn't dream of labelling a child of five as "thick" just because they show no great educational promise at that young age.

We should no more readily label one "obese" just because they carry a bit of puppy fat. And in most cases a child's body shape will change as they get older.

That said, our report makes it clear that there is a problem with a small proportion of our youngsters - the number categorised as obese in this area is one in ten.

Again, many will lose weight as they get into sport or dance, or simply become more conscious of their own health and body shape.

But in the interest of catching that small number who will not change, there is a case for doing more to help. For once, we can't blame the lack of PE in schools for causing the problem, but more of it would help sort it.

Earlier intervention must be part of the solution too, with more focus on health - in a fun way - in nursery, and more information and advice for parents.

Power and money

Power is money, and right now politicians at all levels are squabbling about how they get their hands on your cash.

Locally, city councillors are set to reluctantly agree not to ask you for more council tax next year. They have little choice, given that the Scottish Government would otherwise cut their funding by 34m.

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Three cheers for the SNP? Possibly... but meanwhile Alex Salmond is arguing that Scottish ministers should have a greater say in the taxes we pay and how it is spent.

He wants more than the greater control over income tax - worth 12bn a year - and new borrowing powers - worth 2.7bn - which are on the table after the Calman Commission.

The good news is the debate will create clear lines in the Holyrood election. The bad news is that, whoever wins power in May, they will want more of your money.