Who is responsible for the health of our children? If your son or daughter is overweight, is it the government’s fault or maybe television, the internet or social media?

Possibly it is it the fault of schools? Maybe it the fault of your local council? Almost certainly the food industry has to share in the blame, doesn’t it?

I ask these question in all seriousness, even though I believe I know the answer.

Surely the ultimate responsibility lies fairly and squarely with parents and carers, no one else.

They are the adults, the grown-ups who have gained knowledge and life experience and who should be helping, guiding and even insisting children follow a sensible path to adulthood.

And yet what we are faced with now is a ‘nanny state’ government which is about to start a consultation on proposals to introduce a 9pm watershed on television and online adverts for food and drink that is high in fat, sugar or salt.

The new public consultation will ask people for their views on ways to reduce the number of adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt that children are exposed to.

The consultation sets out proposals to tighten advertising restrictions which will limit children’s exposure across the media they engage with most, as part of efforts to tackle childhood obesity.

The restrictions being considered include a 9pm watershed ban on TV, online streaming sites and social media. According to the government, the restrictions have been designed to encourage industry to develop healthier alternatives.

Adverts for sugary and fatty foods are more commonly shown than any other category. In 2017, it is estimated that children were exposed to more than 700 million online adverts for foods high in fat, sugar or salt and almost 3.6 billion TV adverts.

Exposure levels on TV have fallen significantly since restrictions around children’s programmes were introduced 10 years ago, but there remains a significant amount of exposure.

The government says, evidence suggests advertising can affect what and when children eat, both just after seeing an advert and in the longer term by shaping their food preferences from a young age. This has the potential to affect their likelihood to become or remain overweight as adults.

The proposals would target foods that contribute most to children’s intake of calories. The restrictions would not apply to everyday staples such as butter, oil or meat.

But here’s the sad part. Currently, one in three children is overweight or obese and the number of severely obese children is on the rise.

The proposals are part of a series of measures that will support the NHS Long Term Plan and help to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We often talk about internet safety and how social media can affect our children’s mental health and we are rightly taking action to address that.

“But what about their physical health? I want my children to grow up knowing what a balanced diet looks like – but their perception of what is healthy can get skewed when the vast majority of adverts they see on screen are for sugary snacks and fast food.”

He was backed up by Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary of State Jeremy Wright who said: “We know that childhood obesity is one of the biggest health problems that our country faces. With children spending more time online it’s vital that we look at all options to help us take action and improve the health of the nation.

“The UK already has some of the toughest advertising restrictions in the world, but it is only right that we explore the impact that further action on TV and online advertising for products that are high in fat, salt or sugar will have on childhood obesity.”

All well and good, but the fact remains, it is parents and carers who are at the sharp end and this kind of government intervention just provides a handy excuse for adults to abdicate their responsibilities.

And I also wonder what role austerity plays here? It’s all well and good to be lectured by Cabinet Ministers about diet, but let’s face it, they can afford to be choosy about their and their children’s diet.

This is far more complex than just restricting television advertising and I think that should be acknowledged.