IN OUR modern, image-obsessed age, there is a fine line to be drawn between healthy and sick.

While on the one hand we are told that teenage girls are pressured into trying to look like super models, on the other hand children as young as four are now to be given slimming advice to tackle a county-wide obesity problem.

The announcement comes as figures reveal that for 2011/12, 15.6 per cent of 10 and 11-year-olds in Oxfordshire were obese compared to 15.3 per cent six years before.

And for children as young as four and five, seven per cent were classed as obese in our county.

Clearly, anything which can be done to prevent children from acquiring long-term health problems is a good thing. As councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles said, obese children are more likely to become obese adults - and with that comes the risk of heart problems and diabetes.

But the county’s NHS service has been trying to solve these problems since 2008, with initiatives such as school vending machines offering healthy food and healthy lifestyle lessons for youngsters.

If these have not worked so far, what is there to say that one-to-one advice will do any better? Health bosses must make sure that, while warning four-year-old children of the dangers of gaining weight, they are avoiding playing into a culture where slimmers are winners.