SOME may say the idea is two sandwiches short of a picnic.

But the House of Lords has been listening with interest to a call for thick slices of bread to be cut down to size.

Thick bread equals thick waistlines, according to Baroness Gardener of Parkes, who told the Lords of her concern that the width of a standard slice was getting thicker.

It was, she added, contributing to the problem of people becoming overweight and she wants to see a return to "normal" sized slices.

But is it the best idea since sliced bread? People in Bolton didn't think so.

University of Bolton student student Zoey Tattersall, aged 20, of Great Lever, said: "There are worse foods on the markets, like fast food.

"People should be allowed to eat what they want, but it should be in moderation.

"Thick bread is tastier and makes better toast and is part of a healthy diet."

Fellow University of Bolton student Mary Hulme, aged 23, of Tonge Moor, said: "Can those in Westminster not actually put in place real policies to help? I have always eaten thick bread and it has done me no harm.

"If they are concerned about childhood obesity, then make available things for young people to do which are not expensive.

"It is ridiculous that thick bread has been mentioned. Are we to be told not to use butter and jam too?"

Baroness Gardener spoke during a House of Lords debate on childhood obesity.

In Bolton, just over 25 per cent of four and five-year-olds, and nearly 30 per cent of 10 and 11-year-olds are classed as overweight or obese.

Baroness Gardener said: "I speak as a member of the All-Party Group on Obesity. Why is it that in central London you can hardly find a thinly sliced or medium-sliced load of bread to buy, and any sandwich you buy in any supermarket is now made with thick bread?

"While the House of Lords continues to use medium-sliced bread - and very nice bread - in its sandwiches, even the House of Commons has moved to thick bread.

"Surely at a time when we want to reduce people's consumption, there should be more pressure from the Food Standards Agency, or one of the many departments the Minister speaks about, to take us back to normal-sized bread instead of these super-sized sandwiches."

Bakers hit back at the comments saying bread was a vital part of a healthy diet. Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers, said: "British bakers provide consumers with bread sliced to all thickness and offer a huge variety from seeded to prebiotic loaves.

"No matter what the recipe or how thick the slices are, bread is an important part of a healthy diet.

"The Food Standards Agency advises that starchy foods like bread should make up a third of the food we eat as they are a good source of energy. But bread also contains calcium, fibre, iron and B vitamins, essential for a healthy diet.

"Bread itself is not fattening - toast for breakfast is a great start to the day or a sandwich with a lean protein filling is the perfect healthy snack."

Bolton-based baker Warburtons who make an "Our Thickest Slice" loaf, declined to comment.