Obesity Hits Record Number With School Children
Young children in England are being sent to secondary school with a major setback when it comes to their health: they are morbidly obese. At the moment, the government is fighting this issue, but a radical change is required for the battle against obesity to be won.
According to recent statistics from Public Health England, one in 25 pupils aged 10 and 11 is the most obese category. Less than a decade ago, this number used to be one in 32. Health experts warn that, as they grow up, these children risk suffering from low self-esteem and bullying, in addition to poor health. This issue is being attributed to fast food outlets becoming more and more common, as well as the higher price on most healthy foods compared to cheap, fatty or sugary foods.
Dr Max Davie, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “Although shocking, this new data is not surprising. For many years we have been calling for bold action and it appears for these young children, it did not come soon enough.”
Where is obesity currently hitting the hardest?
The statistics show that children originating from underprivileged backgrounds have a greater likelihood of being overweight or obese, while the health inequality steadily grows. As explained by Dr Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist with Public Health England, the number of severely obese children currently at the end of their primary school year is now standing at 22 000.
“This increases health consequences and social risk for them. We now have more takeaway outlets than we have ever had before. Walk down any high street and you are constantly prompted to buy and eat more and that will be affecting our children – the amount they eat and their body weight.” Obesity in children is likely to carry on as obesity in adults, and associated health issues include cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes and cancer.
What is being done to address the situation?
According to Skye News, the organisation is aiming to have a fifth of sugar cut from everyday products by 2020. In order to do this, Public Health England is in collaboration with the food industry, and earlier this year, soft drink manufacturers have already been charged a tax on their products that are highest in calories. In addition, the government has unveiled another phase of its strategy to fight childhood obesity, which includes mandatory calorie labelling on menus and restricting television adverts.
Caroline Cerny, of coalition group the Obesity Health Alliance, has described the figures as “very concerning”.
“The government has recently set out some bold plans with an ambition of halving childhood obesity by 2030, including a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts. We need all these measures to be fully and swiftly implemented to help ensure all children have the healthiest possible start in life.”
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