Documentary exploring why some parents resort to feeding their babies junk food and follows three families as they desperately try and get back on the right nutritional track.
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Fast food is everywhere.
He likes KFC.
Chicken nuggets, kebabs, fish and chips.
Anything that's bad for you, he'll eat.
Our kids just can't get enough of it.
But he does love fizzy pop.
A lot of cans, probably on average, say, six throughout the day.
I've got no control over what he eats.
Now we're rearing a nation of fast food babies.
I see tooth decay, iron deficiency anaemia, rickets, even.
It's a ticking time bomb of massive health problems.
They are a recipe for heart disease, diabetes.
We meet three families with three different fast food problems.
A clan of take-away addicts whose diet is shared by even their tiniest tot.
A 19-month-old whose mum and dad are frightened by his refusal to eat healthy food.
And a three-year-old whose mum has never cooked him a healthy meal.
Can I have a small doner meat with chips with cheese and mayonnaise please?
All the families desperately want help.
They're teaming up with experts to see if their babies can kick the habit.
I just think maybe I just need to be reined back in and just start from scratch with him.
If I've got an expert to help
and I've got someone telling me what to do, then I'll be able to change it.
19-month-old Cuba Fish from Cardiff is a fast food baby.
He likes McDonalds, he likes KFC, he likes an Indian.
He likes his pizzas, also his chips with plenty of salt, that's him.
Cuba has one big problem...
his whole family are take-away addicts.
Most people have a Friday night take-away
but we have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday night take-away.
-There you go darling.
They've been ordering for years, actually.
Oh, chippies, Cuba.
The take-aways are soaked in harmful saturated fat.
-Cuba is consuming half a litre of oil a week.
-So what you having then Chay?
I'm having chicken, please.
Construction assessor Simon
could be a driving force behind this fast food feeding.
Are we hungry still?
-Good. Guarantee that Friday and Saturday for me on the weekend, I'll take the kids to McDonalds.
Simon's long working hours means he spoils Cuba rotten.
It's hard to say no to him.
You know, he's got a lovely big cute smile.
If Cuba's mum Sam does cook a home meal, the reception is lukewarm.
Sam, your pasta...
-Is half cooked.
-Oh, do you know what, when you buy pasta from a shop, right,
you know you get those chilled ones, when you eat it its hard, isn't it?
Right there you are then, it's like shop bought pasta then.
Nobody eats it and then they all run off and I'm left with just mess.
Does anybody want this pasta?
No thank you.
Sam works two days a week as a banking consultant.
The other five are spent cleaning her home...
Shall we put these back up?
I'm just fed up of cleaning so if that means eating out avoids that
than doing a lot of dishes... brilliant.
Cuba and sisters Cleo and Chay also have free rein to plunder the sweetie cupboard.
If I had to say a number I'd say at least 30 times throughout the day.
He helps himself... I've got no control over what he eats.
Whilst the girls have learned self-control, Cuba hasn't.
The toddler knocks all the fast food back with an unbelievable amount of cola...
up to six cans a day.
It's out of control.
Cuba can't sleep and Sam is now worried about his health.
I'm totally conscious of it now.
I just think maybe I just need to be reined back in and just start from scratch with him.
I just don't know where to start, really, I think, with it.
Sam is prepared up for change.
But is Simon?
I'm not too sure about the fast food.
I quite enjoy that and I think he enjoys that so I won't like to stop too much of that.
The person responsible for sorting out family health in the local community is Jane Imperato.
She's a hugely experienced family health expert who's spent 20 years coaxing families onto healthy diets.
I think that I am reasonably firm.
I think I'm a good parent to my parents.
Look what we've got here. Do you want to look at those?
Wow, these are pretty, aren't they?
Cuba has no choice in what he eats.
To crack his problem, Jane will have to crack the whole family.
Tell me all about what's been happening and what you feel your main issues are.
We're just absolutely drained with him, to be honest with you, Jane.
He's not eating properly, I'm totally aware that he's not.
-How many take-aways do you have in a week?
-At least five.
At least five. You don't know what's in those take-aways and generally speaking,
they are going to be high in fats and salts and sugar
and basically they are a recipe for heart disease, diabetes.
-OK. His diet at the moment, Sam...
Worse than bad, it's dreadful.
-Oh, is it?
-It is really bad, yes.
Cuba is consuming 3,200 calories a day...
700 more than is healthy for a grown man.
There are long-term health risks but in his short 19-month life,
Cuba's diet may already be taking its toll.
My main concern is that he might be anaemic because he's not having an iron-rich diet.
Right, OK. That's quite scary, really, isn't it?
And it's been quite long term this diet's been as well, to be honest.
How long has it been going on?
For practically as long as he's been born.
In the UK, one in eight toddlers are now iron deficient.
This can, in the worst cases, slow a child's development.
Cuba will need a blood test to see if he's anaemic.
-Right now, Jane lays down the ground rules for the whole family.
-We need to start cooking in this household.
I want him on three meals a day.
No, it's not all about Sam.
I need you to back Sam up and when you're looking after the children,
I need you to cook for them and maybe...
-Are you listening to this?
-Yes, are you?
You can cook Si, you can cook.
It's just getting the time obviously.
And were you saying that you didn't like the mess involved in cooking?
The mess he makes is irritating.
I do the dishes and Sam is behind me cleaning everything up saying "Look at the mess you've made."
I might slip and cut my head open.
The thing is you've got to get your priorities straight.
We need the mess, OK, unfortunately.
Sorry about that, Sam.
The sweetie cupboard, Simon, is going. It has to be gone.
-Are you listening to this?
-I'm serious, really serious.
Seriously, it has to go.
So just by getting rid of that, it means that Cuba's going to have to forage for more...
-Oh, look at his face.
-For more healthy foods.
Losing the sweetie cupboard will be particularly tough for Cleo and Chay.
We've got something to tell you.
What we're going to do is, we're going to get rid of the sweetie cupboard.
And you've got to be brave about this.
It's not so much that you're the problem,
-the problem is your little brother. You've got to set him a good example.
-What do you think, Chay?
-What do you think, Cleo?
-Oh, well, OK... sorry, girls, it's happening.
The grown-ups are in charge.
We're taking control, me and Daddy are taking control back.
I don't want it to go.
Don't let her pull on the old heartstrings. We're not being mean.
We're being cruel to be kind.
-All right, Chay?
-For the sake of your little brother, really, because he is completely out of control.
I've never come across a single family before that actually just
lived on take-away food and just did no cooking whatsoever.
It's to an extreme, it really is.
Jane allows just one take-away a week as motivation.
Their diet's been turned on its head.
It's all easy to agree that we'll cook every night and make a plan.
It sounds really good and I want it to work.
I don't like it.
Yeah, we feel really, really sad.
I'm not cooking tonight, I'll have to start tomorrow.
For Cara and Gareth's family in Surrey, it's not fast-food- eating parents that's the problem.
Is that your lunch?
Full-time mum Cara and sports event co-ordinator Gareth
eat a balanced diet and prepare 19-month-old Michael healthy food for every meal.
It's din dins.
I actually love cooking and I'll cook dinners fresh from scratch.
We eat pretty healthily, to be honest.
Michael, don't spit.
Yes, you have to eat.
Yes... eat your dinner.
Here you are. Michael.
-Eat, come on.
It's yummy, it's nice.
The trouble is, the more they try and control his eating,
-the more Michael rebels.
-Has he thrown it on the floor?
That was very... no, you don't do that.
You don't do that.
This is what it's like every meal time.
-He's not going to eat that, is he?
It's affecting Cara and Gareth's relationship.
Me and Gareth will, you know, be stressed at each other
because of what's going on
'and having to clean up all the food.'
Yeah, it's a stressful time.
Michael, sit down please.
It's lunchtime, OK? Come on. Hey, hey, hey, hey.
Every meal ends the same way -
Cara and Gareth resort to fast-food feeding.
It doesn't help that they live directly above a fish and chip shop.
Hi, can I get a regular cod and small chips, please?
'When I give him fast food,
'I do feel like a bad parent, I really do,
'but I just think to myself if he's eating something then, you know,'
that's better than having nothing.
Thank you very much, Steve. Bye.
'We've got to feed him and if we can't give him the right things,'
you've got to give him something, haven't you?
The end result is that Michael is one toddler
who knows how to get exactly what he wants.
The shopping trolley always fills up with his favourite fast food.
-There you go.
-Do you want to put them in the trolley?
-Put them in for us.
On an average day, like Cuba in Cardiff,
he's clocking up a whopping 3,000 calories.
Michael's bad habits began after he became seriously ill.
Michael came down with meningitis when he was six months old.
The doctors were telling us that it was very, very serious, you know.
We were sort of preparing ourselves and thinking the worst.
When Michael had meningitis yeah, it was very stressful.
They was talking about him nearly dying. Sorry...
HE SNIFFS AND SOBS
I can't even explain how terrible, I mean for any child,
to go through that especially when it's yours, it's just heartbreaking.
'It's definitely affected how we behave with Michael because we give in to him.
'We just like to spoil him a bit more than, you know, maybe we would if he hadn't had meningitis.'
When most babies are starting to come off milk on to a normal diet, Michael was fighting for his life.
For Cara twice a week it's a walk of shame into Michael's toddler group.
All the other children have taken
some fruit and vegetables out of the pots in the middle, put them on their plate
and they're all eating them.
I have to bring stuff with me or he won't eat what the other children are eating.
Come and eat some fruit Michael.
Come and sit down and eat your fruit.
'I feel really embarrassed as a mum'
giving my son like sweets and crisps and chocolate and stuff
because I do want to give him healthy stuff,
but it's just because he doesn't eat it I want to give him something
rather than nothing. Yeah, I would say I am embarrassed, yes.
Cara and Gareth are desperate for help...
and are meeting Dr Catherine Dendy,
ex-Head of Feeding at Great Ormond Street Children's hospital.
-Hello, I'm Catherine. I've come to see Michael.
-Hello, Catherine. Nice to meet you.
As a clinical psychologist, she looks at the deep-seated reasons why children refuse healthy food.
I've come along actually today to see Michael having a meal
and just being able to experience with you what happens.
And, as far as possible, if you could just do what you would normally do.
Catherine sits back and observes a typical mealtime.
Stop playing with your food. Put it in your mouth - it's yummy.
No, no. Come on,
time to eat. Carrot... Please?
As usual, Cara and Gareth end up giving in to Michael's demands and put him
in his favourite spot on the sofa.
-Right do you want to watch your programme?
-And have some
din-dins on your lap? Yeah?
In her consultation, Catherine starts with the impact of Michael's meningitis.
It seems to me that what's happened to Michael is that this really, really important stage of weaning
and building up the new tastes and the new textures has been interrupted,
and you've been feeling really, really anxious about it.
-If he starts eating something, you say, "Great!" and you give him even more of it.
And it's like a circle, isn't it?
Even if he's like the slightest bit something's not right, just the very tiniest bit,
I'm like, "There's something wrong with him."
It's natural though, isn't it?
He is keen to put his hands into things and try them out,
and you actually used a very interesting phrase, you said, "Don't play with your food Michael."
And I know we're all brought up not to play with our food and I thought,
actually what we want him to do is play with his food.
His table manners will come later.
What I would like you to do is to take him to some classes that are run for little children
to help him get used to fruit and veg
and actually end up popping them in his mouth and maybe even enjoying them.
-But done in a fun way.
-That would be really good.
-That would be great, wouldn't it?
Catherine will be referring Michael to a children's feeding expert called Lucy Thomas
for practical support, while she'll work with Cara and Gareth on the reasons behind their anxieties.
How many pieces of garlic bread do you want?
I'll give you two then to start off with just in case you want some more. Just one then.
Harley Evans lives in Runcorn.
There's no battle here over fruit and veg.
He's reached the grand old age of three without his mum
ever having cooked him a healthy meal.
-A milk shake! And what colour is it?
Each week he eats around two portions of doner meat,
eight pieces of fried chicken, four portions of chips,
two frozen pizzas and 20 frozen nuggets.
Ah, smiley faces!
Worst of all, he'll guzzle 24 glasses of fizzy drink.
Every seven days, he's basically eating
two half-kilo packets of sugar, and there's one big reason.
He's eating what his mum eats.
Yeah. Um, can I have a small doner meat with chips
with cheese and mayonnaise, please?
'I always have fast food. It's just quicker, easier.
'Somebody's made it for you,'
you don't have to stand around waiting for it to cook, and it tastes nice!
Is there not a bottle of coke?
I usually order a kebab every night.
Sometimes it's not always a kebab, it's, like, KFC or something else,
but mainly it is kebabs.
Teen mum Taylor had Harley when she was just 15.
Sister Tiana followed two years later,
and she combines being a single mum with studying part-time.
Be careful, you!
Taylor is frazzled,
and Harley is becoming more of a handful every day.
Stop it. I said, "No!"
Recently I've noticed that Harley is more hyperactive than he has been.
It's probably due to the foods that he's eating.
I can see the chocolate!
Ooh, burgers. Shall we go and get some pizza?
Do you want pepperoni or cheese? Chicken?
-Can I get one of them? Pears.
-I like pears.
-You've never tasted a pear.
-What about it? I don't like veg.
Taylor's mum, Mandy, helps out during the week,
and has major concerns about what Taylor feeds Harley and herself.
-You've missed all the good food out, Taylor.
-It's all right.
-No, I don't like it.
It takes ages to make, so if you're going to buy pasta, buy a pasta pot.
-Can I have some of your chocolate, please?
-A little bite.
Last time Taylor had a vegetable, it was from the kebab shop,
deep fried, in the form of chips with cheese on top. If she carries on
the way she is, she's going to end up obese.
I'm never going to get fat.
No, but if you carry on with your takeaways,
that's how it's going to go.
How do you exercise? Walking to the shop?!
-To buy a bottle of Lucozade!
-And a packet of Wotsits, that's it.
Yeah, it's exercise!
Harley's diet really does need to change now.
Because otherwise, he will think
it's the norm to eat what Taylor's giving him.
It's just not healthy.
Taylor should know more than most
about what her diet could be doing to Harley.
Last year, she suffered a heart attack.
They couldn't find any known explanation for it.
They said the only thing they could put it down to was all the stress of pregnancy.
I wouldn't ever, ever want to go through that ever again.
It was the worst four days of my life.
-I think even the doctors and everyone were shocked,
with her age, with her being so young.
You don't expect it to happen.
Taylor has been told to change her diet
to avoid any more stress to her heart.
'If I carry on eating the way I am,'
I probably won't be here in ten years' time.
'Obviously, I think'
we have arguments, because I am concerned about Taylor.
If she carries on, it could lead to another heart attack,
and that could leave her children without a mum, basically.
It's a tragedy that Mandy hopes can be avoided
if Taylor takes action right now.
-I'm Hayley, the dietician.
-Hello. Come in.
I've come to see you!
After talking to her mum,
Taylor has agreed to see community dietician Hayley Kuter,
who specialises in paediatric nutrition.
Can you see that number? That shows you what a big boy you are.
One in five children in the UK are now overweight by the age of five.
A junk-food generation is a ticking time bomb
for a really worrying amount of problems.
I'm seeing a lot of overweight and obese children at the moment.
I see tooth decay,
'constipation, rickets, even, from lack of vitamin D.'
These are all caused by an unbalanced diet.
According to this BMI, he is above average,
-and we're going to need to watch his food intake, really.
These takeaways, is Harley having them as well?
-Everything I've got, he wants.
-OK, and if you say he can't have it?
I don't think I've ever said he can't, I just give it him.
-OK, do you think he copies you?
Hayley's most worried about the enormous about of sugary cola
that Harley is consuming.
-Can I have it all?
-'From this bowl of sugar,'
you might be able to measure out
how much YOU think would be in his daily diet.
-Can I have a go?
-A little bit more.
-I'd say about that.
-Can I have a go?
-You'd say about that? Do you want to have a go?
Because it's MORE than that, I'm afraid.
That is about how much sugar
you, Mr Harley, are eating in one day.
-About 150 grams there.
-Can we eat that sugar?
Harley is having almost four times the amount of sugar
that is recommended for his age.
Not surprising, as diet-wise, he's just a mini version of his mum.
Do you think your sugar intake would be more or less?
I think mine would be more.
Can you show me how much more you think you're having in a day?
After this, I want a go again.
-OK. I'm afraid you're having a bit more than that.
-Shall we try again?
-Is this a day?
-This is in one day.
-Do you want me to keep going?
-Oh, my God!
Yeah, that's it.
That's 500 grams, Taylor, in one day.
Taylor is having ten times the recommended daily amount
for a grown woman.
Sugary foods give us instant bursts of energy,
and they push our blood-sugar levels up.
We also crash, our blood-sugar levels go down,
and we end up tired and grumpy
and irritable and teary and mad!
-Do you think this goes on in your house?
-That describes me!
Can you maybe explain to me why you think you eat like this?
It's probably through laziness.
Do you think maybe if I could show you how to eat healthily
and it was cheaper, would that even interest you?
Yeah, if I could save money and get more stuff for me.
Hayley sets some clear guidelines
for a healthy diet to start straight away.
It is going to be hard, but I'll try me best.
And with Harley as well, I'm just not going to buy any stuff in.
I'm going to have to be really strict with myself.
She's forgotten that food and health are connected,
so she has no idea that the sugar,
the fat, the saturated fats,
the salt that she's putting in her body
is having any affect whatsoever on her health.
In Cardiff, Sam Fish is facing a huge struggle
to get Cuba on the right nutritional track.
His current diet is likely to cause anaemia,
which in some cases can slow down a child's development.
It's hitting home, the effect that his diet
that we've allowed him to have is affecting him.
He'll have a blood test. He could be anaemic. It's affecting his health.
'It is making me feel a bit guilty.'
Right, OK, we're just going to pop this little strap
-on his arm. It doesn't hurt, it's just a bit of pressure, OK?
We'll just pop this on a minute, mate. Pull it nice and tight, OK?
There we are. There's a good boy. He shouldn't feel that, OK?
OK. Good boy. Nice and still. Nice and still.
-Nice and still, darling. Nice and still.
-OK, OK, OK.
OK. What makes them so upset is because they're being pinned down, you know?
-'That did not go well at all.
'It's traumatic for Cuba, it's traumatic for me.'
It's just... I feel quite devastated now.
Ssh, ssh, OK.
The results will come through in a couple of weeks.
Back at home, Sam is determined to start changing her family's diet.
In here we have cereal, Weetabix, Cheerios.
There's raisins, there's raisins covered in yoghurt,
-All boring food.
Well, if you're hungry, that's what's there.
There's one pack of biscuits, which are oat biscuits,
so they're made of oats, and there's no chocolate on them.
You should get chocolate digestives.
Sam's also facing up to her fears of a messy kitchen,
and has been cooking fresh meals for the last two evenings.
The problem is, Simon is finding it hard to cut out the junk.
Yesterday, he was in charge of the kids.
You didn't make an effort.
I was nearly in tears when I come home from work Friday.
-I was really deflated with you.
-That's the first time ever.
-I think you knew how disappointed I was.
-But I enjoy my takeaway.
Yeah. I don't think it's realistic, to be honest with you,
to get rid of everything.
If he is anaemic, it's from his diet, really,
so we've got to take responsibility for that, Si.
Get me forks and knives while I cut up this. Here you are, Cubes.
I can't believe he's eating it. Good boy, you are! Eh?
Look at him, eating it.
Sam's hard work is paying off.
He's enjoying it, isn't he?
Cuba's actually eating for the first time ever.
It's not chips or pepperamis,
and it's literally been, what, two days?
I'm going for seconds. What's going on?
-Am I allowed seconds?
-Yeah, you're a growing man, aren't you?
Just growing that way!
In Runcorn, home-cooked meals are nowhere to be seen.
The less time 19-year-old Taylor spends cooking for Harley,
the more time she can spend being a teenager.
How are you getting on with it?
What's he eating now instead of dippers?
He's still eating them, he's just not having all the crap in-between.
That was his favourite word, "Cake!"
Yeah, every time you used to take him out and that,
he would be the first one to ask for a McDonald's.
-"Can we go to Maccies?!"
-And that's, like, "Aw!"
To celebrate, we should go out and just get smashed!
Same old places, same old faces!
How many chicken dippers would you like? Three, like your smiley faces?
One, two, three.
Right, would you like to put them back for Mummy and shut the drawer?
Three weeks into what's meant to be a new routine,
three-year-old Harley is still on his fast-food diet.
There you go. There's your smileys, your dippers and your sauce.
-Cut these up.
-So they're easier to eat?
What about your smileys? Are you going to try some of them?
I haven't really been able to achieve any of the goals that Hayley set
because I've had things going on in me life
and my mind's been preoccupied. When I first got them, I was like,
"Yeah, I'm up for a challenge, I'll do this."
In my head, "Yeah, I'll do this, I want to do this,"
but then the reality of life didn't fit in with my lifestyle!
With difficult clients, dietician Hayley Kuter will sometimes use
a more dramatic approach to drive the dangers home,
and with sugar-mad Harley, there's one immediate danger.
-Has he been to the dentist before?
-No, I'm scared of the dentist.
-You're scared of the dentist?
-Yeah, they scare me.
Nearly 30,000 children under five are admitted to hospital
every year with severe tooth decay.
We just see on the side of this tooth down here,
see that little mark just on the side of the tooth?
What those little marks are are just very early signs
of decay developing in the teeth.
So all these sugary drinks and things are starting to actually have an impact on his teeth,
OK? Well done, Harley. I've got some teeth over here you can have a little look at.
The dentist wants to show what can go wrong
if you continue to feed your children fast food.
This is through drinks, because there's lots of...
The sugar is washing over those front teeth.
Can you see that little lump?
-At the top up there?
That's a big lump full of pus, and an abscess on the tooth there.
That would be extremely painful for this child.
This six-year-old is at risk of blood poisoning,
and will need at least six extractions.
If he has to go to sleep to have his teeth removed,
statistics are, children do die from having that procedure,
so it is really important that we try and avoid that happening, you know?
It's a massive jolt for Taylor,
and a hard lesson about the harm she's doing to Harley.
It shocked me, really, what the dentist said.
I knew that it would be harming Harley's teeth,
but I didn't realise how much it was affecting his teeth.
But now I'm just going to cut drinks out altogether,
other than water or milk. And the same for me, as well.
That big enough?
Taylor finally agrees to take expert advice on board
and gets started on changing her and Harley's diet.
She tells me that her mum
and her friends and family are supporting her in this,
and yet she's not fully able to do it at the moment by herself,
so I do think a support group is going to be useful,
even if it's just for some cooking
or talking to other mums who are in a similar position.
Taylor finally realises action is needed,
and is inspired to attend Parent Power,
a support group for young parents run by Action For Children
at Halton Youth Service.
We meet every Friday afternoon, we cook healthy alternatives
to popular food like pizzas, kebabs, cakes.
-Do you cook at home?
-I've tried, but...
-Nearly set the house on fire.
-I've got it into my head that I can't cook, but I probably could if I tried.
We've done lots of different stuff - we've done spaghetti bolognaise,
we've done roast dinners, healthy-option pizzas.
It looks like I've gone out into my garden and decided to make a pizza with the grass!
Taylor's freshly-prepared pizza contains around 470 calories,
whilst Harley's usual delivered variety
would tot up a massive 3,000.
Would you like to come to a group like this,
or have you ever thought of coming to a group?
I've been offered tons of groups, but I think people'll judge me for being a single mum.
Before I'd come here, I used to just order out and put stuff in the...
That's all I do.
Then I started coming here
and started eating, like, pasta and stuff like that.
I would never have actually sat and thought, "Yeah, let's try this."
I will definitely come again, make something I can take home. Me and Harley can do it.
He can actually say, "Oh, I made my tea, I made this."
And then that will bring us closer together, in a healthy way!
You have to eat some breakfast, OK?
In Surrey, Cara and Gareth try and feed 19-month-old Michael
healthy home-cooked food every day.
He hasn't touched his toast.
Since contracting meningitis a year ago,
they're over-controlling at meal times, and Michael's rebelling.
Look at this mess, look at this mess, Michael.
I want you to eat some nana. Nana next.
Michael's been referred to feeding expert Lucy Thomas
to give Cara and Gareth some practical support.
My classes are all about offering parents with young children
the opportunity to come and explore and experiment
with fruit and vegetables.
Anyone who doesn't get to feel something and maybe smell it
if you're not quite sure what it's like...
You're not going to pick something up
and put it straight in your mouth!
So it's giving Michael those experiences in a fun way
and making it really positive for him.
Michael! Michael, do you want to come and pick a beetroot? Yes!
Come on then, come and pick a beetroot, one for you and one for Daddy.
One and another one, that's it.
Take one for Daddy. Take it back to Daddy, Michael.
That's it. Oh, we're going to have three, take it back to Daddy.
Yeah, well done, Michael. I would like everybody to brush their teeth...
Without the stress and pressure of his usual mealtimes, Michael becomes adventurous with the fruit and veg.
# Stir, stir the soup We stir it round and round
# We stir, stir, we blow, we kiss We make the slurping sound. #
Can I hear the slurping sound?
Lovely soup slurping going on here today.
-Has Michael had beetroot soup before?
It's a mini triumph for Michael.
He's touched his food, had a play and a little nibble.
It was brilliant today. Really loved it, really enjoyed it.
Michael really took to it very well, he's picked up a few things already,
which I think we'll definitely do at home until next week.
He'll be coming every week now.
Over the next week, Gareth tries to take the classroom fun into the home.
You going to eat it with Daddy now, yes?
Are you going to come back and have some more?
Come on, please, come on.
You eat some, I'll eat some. Come on, you try some more?
Will you brush your teeth?
Do you not like any of it?
You did the other day.
You did the other day... Have a bite.
Cara, this isn't going down well. Spitting nearly every bit out.
Oh, you're joking!
Michael's making small changes but his parents are not.
The fruit and vegetables that we just tried there, I don't... I'm not keen on that anyway.
It's just a matter of confidence for me doing it as well, I suppose.
Cara and Gareth's relationship is still suffering and meal times are still chaos.
Do you want to go upstairs to bed? Do you want to go to bed?
Well, then be a good boy, come on.
Come on, be a good boy.
Thankfully, their first consultation with Dr Catherine is scheduled.
-What particularly is it that worries you?
-I don't know, just that
he's not going to reach his milestone and maybe miss out on things.
-Be a bit slow.
-I get really scared when he doesn't eat enough.
I think he's like, he won't be able to tell us and he'll get thinner and
thinner and I don't know, I just like I think he's going to get so hungry he's going to starve.
It's silly but...
And you're right with the sort of emotion that was around
-when he was ill.
-Yeah, you tend to think the worse, don't you?
Is he unhappy?
Does he look as though he's got energy?
Is he reaching his milestones?
See, we're silly because we know that all this...
We know he's OK, like...
I think we're too quick to get stressed, aren't we? And start fretting and you know...
Children are naturally suspicious of food and use all their senses to work out what's OK to eat.
We're going to play a game together and I hope it's going to be fun and it's about experiencing how Michael
feels when he's presented with food that he has not a clue about.
Hopefully what Cara and Gareth are going to do is feel what it's like for Michael.
I just have to warn you that some of them are not edible.
-It's a bit worrying when you say some of them aren't edible.
-That smells like...
-So would you eat that?
-No, I wouldn't eat that.
It smells food-y but...
It's not bad.
Shall I put you out of your misery?
It's an iron tonic.
-You know, a tonic kind of thing.
Oh, because I was going to say it does smell irony and taste a bit irony.
Now, if you're Michael and I've put some food in front of you and I say eat that, it's good for you...
what's Michael going to do?
Oh, my gosh, that's so true yes.
He's going to reach out, he's going to touch it and feel it and he might do some squishing.
And that's really important, that's not bad manners, that's, "What is this?"
Children, when they're presented with a new food,
need on average 16 tastes of it, 16 times to actually get used to it.
Wow. It's so strange to see it from Michael's point of view -
new foods, tasting it, smelling, feeling.
Quite funny as well.
In Cardiff, mum Sam has been sticking to the new regime for a month,
but today dad Simon is in charge of Cuba and the girls.
What we're going to do, we're going to be a bit naughty now.
I always treat my girls, especially on a Friday, we always sneak off to the cake shop,
no matter where we are, and I will treat them to some cake.
Simon is sneaking in snacks behind Sam's back.
-But we don't tell Mummy, do we, girls?
Come on, then, what are we having?
Oh, look at this.
Which ones do you want? Got everything?
Come on, then, let's go back to the car quick.
I got a chocolate cake with cream in it. OK, I'm weak.
Can I change the chicken tikka for another lamb passanda, please?
Back at home, the Fish family are about to tuck into the one take-away they're allowed a week.
Right, let's get Cuba some more chips. He hasn't had chips all week.
It's there as a reward for all the good work.
We haven't had one of these for ages, have we, girls, since Jane's come along?
Jane's banned our take-aways.
Yeah, you look happy now, don't you, happy chappy.
You got chippies?
Are they nice? Yum, yum, yum in Cuba's tum.
Have we missed our take-aways, girls?
I have, I've been actually looking forward to this all day.
Oh, Cuba's getting stuck in.
It should be a time for celebration, instead, the truth behind Simon's secret cake raid comes out.
All right, Jane said we could have one treat, right, and then you buy three or four cakes each.
-No, I didn't.
-Yes, you did, Chay had like two
Gingerbread men, she had chocolate flake, she had custard slice and she had one of those cherry biscuits.
That's disgusting and actually she ate them all in one evening.
Daddy's trying his best.
There's still a huge amount to do.
Health Visitor Jane is making her second visit to the family home.
What are you most missing from your diet?
Put it this way, I think if Sam wasn't here and she was in work I could have
quite easily chucked all the kids in the car and gone to get some chicken quite easy.
You'd have succumbed to temptation?
I've got a challenge for you, Simon.
Oh...what is it?
I'd like you to go and buy your most favourite fast food family take-away.
-A fried chicken and chips.
Do I get to eat it?
Yes, and then what I'm going to try and do is to put you off it.
As you're eating it I'm just going to tell you a few home truths about it.
OK, good luck because I don't often get put off.
-There's gristle in there.
-I don't care to me.
Pumped up chicken with water.
On your way, then.
Don't forget the beans, babe.
Simon reunites himself with a supersize bucket of fried chicken in lightening quick time.
I think it's going to be really hard giving up this.
-You couldn't resist, could you?
-No, I couldn't.
-Does it still look appealing to you?
-It does smell nice, though.
-It doesn't smell nice to me, it smells very greasy, really.
-There's more than eight pieces in there.
-Yes, that's the spicy wing what comes in eight pieces.
-So you had 16 pieces of chicken.
-So would you normally have bought this amount of chicken?
-That's quite a lot of chicken, isn't it, really?
Look, you can actually squeeze it out.
Look, it's all bubbling to the surface.
It's pretty gross, isn't it?
Rivers, rivers of grease running down my hand.
How gross is that?
This should not be your daily diet.
This is food gorged in harmful fat.
What exactly does that mean for Cuba?
Gross, isn't it?
So this is the amount of saturated fat that Cuba was getting in his diet every week.
He should have been having about a fifth of that amount.
OK, so it's really bad news.
-This is heart attack diet.
We're storing up health problems for the future.
We've had this three times in one week, haven't we?
-Well, maybe more.
-Plus we've had other take-aways on top of this.
Don't look so tasty now, does it?
Next, Jane wants to check that Cleo and Chay
aren't hiding away any unhealthy snacks for a foraging Cuba.
What other contraband have we got here?
My goodness me.
Is there anything under the pillow?
And what's in the bin?
Oh, my word,
oh, look at this.
Wave bye bye to your sweeties, then.
Old habits are hard to break.
It might seem tough on the girls, but Jane has Cuba and the whole family's future health in mind.
In Surrey, contraband is nowhere to be seen.
Now, what you can do, Gareth, is you can show Michael how you can break the broccoli.
With the help of feeding expert Lucy Thomas, Michael has spent
the last two weeks playing with healthy food in the home.
Now when it comes to the table, it won't be just something that's
-put down there and, oh, it's time to start eating.
I'll tell you what, what we can do here is Michael wants to keep a piece of the broccoli.
Let's give Michael a piece of the broccoli to hold.
Here we go, look, Michael,
would you like to hold one? No, OK.
Well, we're going to give it to Mummy
to cook and also we're going to put some of these in, aren't we?
Look, you shake them.
What did you want the broccoli for?
Is it because it's your broccoli?
Is that what it is? Is it your broccoli?
-Yes, because you did all the cutting.
Thank you, you can have
that bit. That's for Michael, that's for Michael, OK?
Let's go and take it to your Daddy.
Michael is making small changes every day.
Cara and Gareth are much more relaxed with his progress.
Seven weeks after her first visit, psychologist Dr Catherine Dendy
is doing a final check on Michael.
-Dip, dip, dip.
Watch Mummy. That's it. Good boy.
Does it crunch?
He's just picked up the biggest bit of broccoli and put it in his mouth and he's munching away.
He'll eat mounds of broccoli, I mean...
-he'll delve right in.
-He's like a different boy at the moment.
So, it's such a big change.
I think before when we talked about the memories of him being diagnosed
and going into the hospital, this was understandably really upsetting.
Yeah, we'd never really openly talked about
his Meningitis before to anybody, but after we had done we actually
went home and talked about it ourselves and...
It's a big help just to get things out and...
Yeah, definitely, and then...
I think we were bottling it up too much. Just to see the way he is now.
You know, he's obviously picked up on everything so
far and I don't think he's going to have many problems, if at all.
And you two together look much happier.
Stressed all the time, weren't we?
Definitely. Now we're relaxed with each other and don't argue as much.
-It helps because we're getting married.
I think in the future you're going to need to be really
firm, not only with Michael but actually with yourselves as well.
-I think we've learnt a lot ourselves.
-I think we'll be able to do it.
-We'll do it, yeah.
In Runcorn, it's a week after the cooking class and Taylor
is for the first time in her life, starting to cook at home.
What are you doing?
What am I doing? I'm cutting up tomatoes.
It's healthier for her heart and healthier for Harley.
They're to go on our super healthy pizzas.
Wow, I'm shocked at your mum making her own pizzas like this.
-Clever, aren't I? Do you want me to show you what to do now?
Right, you get this, and you squeeze some in the middle.
And then you get the spoon and spread it all over.
Right, let's go and put these in the oven.
I used to think that I couldn't cook
but it's evidently clear that I can cook.
I didn't ever think I'd be able to do this in my life.
I deserve like a certificate or something, like a medal.
Oh, they're done.
How exciting. Yeah, let's get them all out first.
That's a bit hot.
His diet still isn't perfect but he's cut down over half his sugar intake and is a much calmer child.
He doesn't seem as bad as he was in the beginning, probably because he's not getting as much junk in him.
I feel so proud of myself for making these.
I understand now like why my mum was moaning at me.
I need to start eating healthy because of my heart and if I just ignore the fact of what happened and
carry on eating how I did, there's more chance that it will happen again and I don't want that for the kids.
I've realised now that the problem is lack of motivation and just laziness really but now I've had people there
telling me what to do, showing me how to do things and I've not just been left to me own devices
and I know that I can do things, so then now I will carry on to do them.
And my mum will probably still be there giving me a kick up the backside telling me
I need to do these things.
Harley, which pizza's nicer...
that pizza or the pizza that comes with the kebabs?
Cuba. Come on, lovely.
In Cardiff, Cuba's blood tests for anaemia have finally come through.
He's borderline anaemic,
which I sort of knew when the wake-up call, meeting Jane, going through everything, sort of brought
home, so God knows how bad he would have been if we'd have carried on with the old diet.
He would have been severely anaemic within another year, wouldn't he,
so that's something that I'm glad we've nipped in the bud.
The Fish family have totally changed their eating habits.
Simon's curbed his fast food cravings and Sam is triumphing with her healthy home cooking.
Watch your fingers. I'm cooking everyday now, to be honest with you, which is not too bad.
Cuba's new diet is improving his sleep patterns
and most importantly, he's now well on the way to beating his anaemia.
Come on, hello. Whoa.
What we were giving him before with the fried chicken and stuff like that
was way too much for him and we didn't think it was affecting him as much as it was.
When you actually see it for yourself, then you're going to change that.
-Sam may never quite get over her messy kitchen.
-Look at that. Is there any need to make that mess?
Yes, but what I say to you, right...
But ultimately the whole family, and of course Cuba, are on the path to a healthier future.
Looking back at it all now, it was nothing to do with Cuba, absolutely nothing.
The problem definitely laid with us, you know, we didn't take control of our baby, basically.
He was controlling us, it was definitely, definitely with us.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Our junk food addiction is dropping alarmingly down the age ladder and we are now rearing a generation of fast food babies. This arresting documentary reveals babies and toddlers eating a diet of chips, burgers and kebabs, all washed down with bottles of fizzy cola. It explores the deep-seated reasons why parents resort to junk food feeding and follows three families as they desperately try and get back on the right nutritional track. From gentle food play to dramatic shocks, the parents team up with real experts who mentor them through the latest techniques as they try to wean their children off fast food.