A new survey out yesterday (12 July) has revealed that adults in the US increasingly view childhood obesity as a serious problem, but the majority also place the blame squarely with parents - not the food industry's advertising and marketing.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive in conjunction with Wall Street Journal, found that the number of adults who think childhood obesity is a "major problem" has increased to 84%, up from 77% of respondents last year. However, parents of children aged 12 and under are less likely to be concerned by the issue, with only 74% saying it is a major problem.

The majority of respondents said that obesity levels are rising because parents are not paying enough attention to the eating habits of their children, with 88% blaming parents rather than the food industry. When children are at school, 83% of respondents suggested, public schools should do more to block their access to unhealthy foods and drinks.

Those polled were divided on the role that the government should adopt in addressing the issue, with 55% saying that the government should take companies to court if they mislead children and parents about the nutritional value of their foods, while 39% disagree. Looking at advertising, again respondents were fairly evenly split on the issue, with 53% believing the government should regulate the food industry's marketing to children and 42% saying it should not.

Most of those polled believed that physical activity must be part of the solution: 93% said schools should promote more exercise and 94% said parents should be more physically active themselves, thereby encouraging their children to do the same.