Published: 30/09/2004, Volume II4, No. 5925 Page 24 25

With rising fears over obesity, should sporting heroes like Kelly Holmes be used to encourage the nation to exercise more and eat better? Are role models important?

Pop stars like Paul McCartney encourage young people to play and appreciate music, but not everyone will be a world pop sensation. It is important people are inspired and in turn have someone to aspire to - everyone is allowed to dream a little. If we are to change people's attitudes to health and sport we need to go back to basics, have more competitive sports in schools, and home economics classes in which health and nutrition is the key message.

Jill Toole, service delivery manager, Ealing PCT

The point of role models is to demonstrate desirable and attainable ambitions.Olympic superheroes? No thanks. I relate more to Bridget Jones.

Kate Harmond, independent consultant

The use of sporting heroes to give a campaign more exposure is surely a good thing.But it is worth considering the target audience for 'primary prevention' campaigns does not generally have a great interest in sport anyway.

Becky Monaghan, project manager, North Trent coronary heart disease collaborative

People who are not into sport are unlikely to identify with sporting heroes as their role models.Perhaps writing it into the plot of EastEnders would work better! Education about healthy eating and exercise needs to start at an early age and be given by people whom children will listen to and respect, such as teachers.

Marita Brown, head of leadership development, University College London

Hospitals foundation trust Champions provide leadership and inspiration but we should provide the public with sporting and non-sporting heroes. Both demonstrate the confidence and commitment to succeed.

Yolande Watson, locality health development planner, Garforth clinic, Leeds

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