Fat kids all over the world were heaving a collective sigh of relief today when a report announced that childhood obesity was caused, not by eating endless amounts of crisps and Mars Bars, but by a genetic defect.
A team of scientists have concluded that the loss of a key segment of DNA could be to blame. It said the findings might improve diagnosis of severe obesity - which on occasion has been wrongly attributed to abusive overfeeding.
The study, of 300 children with severe obesity by the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, appears in Nature.
Many people believe that grossly overweight children are a product of poor parental control with regard to diet, and that some kids get whatever they want to eat, should they cry long enough.
One parent we interviewed, Marie Twatt, said that she routinely fed her children on Curly Wurlies, Marathons (Snickers in US), Topics (a hazelnut in every bite) and Fruit Pastilles instead of a healthy breakfast, and hadn't noticed any sign of obesity until her 4-year-old son burst last July.
"He went with a real bang!" she said.
A spokesman for fat kids, Dave Barbapapa, said:
"Overweight children everywhere can relax. It's not their fault. Instead of worrying what they can do to lose weight, they can now stop feeling guilty and enjoy themselves by tucking into a chocolate bar and gallons of pop."