athomeparentingwithJoFrost2017 - 114

F
 

rom banning second helpings to
cutting out sweet treats during
the week, parents are all aware
of how easy it is to put in small
measures to control kids' eating habits.
However, from the influence of junk food
marketing to the 'couch-potato' generation
of children more inclined to spend time on
computers instead of physical activities,
it is easy to understand why child obesity
rates are on the rise.
With obesity levels in England among
the worst in Europe (official figures state
a third of children are either overweight or
obese), the government is under growing
pressure to tackle the crisis.
According to the latest figures collected
through the National Child Measurement
Programme (NCMP), the proportion of

1 1 4 | JUN E 2 017

10 and 11-year-olds who were obese in
2015-2016 was 19.8%, up from 19.1%
the year before.
And with younger kids, obesity among
those aged four and five (children in
Reception year at school) hit 9.3%, up
from 9.1% in 2014-2015.
Evidence suggests it is important to
influence lifestyles at a young age as
treating obesity once it is established is
difficult. If good exercise and diet habits
start early, this encourages youngsters to
make more sensible choices themselves
when they get older.

'MODERN DAY PLAGUE'
The rise in the older age group is the
single biggest jump seen since the school
measuring programme started seven

years ago and experts are keen not to
underestimate the issue.
Paul Gately, professor of exercise and
obesity at Leeds Beckett University, said
it was a reminder of how serious the
problem was. 'I would describe obesity
as the modern day plague,' he says.
'We have around one in three children
who has a weight that will reduce the
quality of their life.'
He believes the problem
is that the government has
given up the fight.
'Fundamentally, obesity is
complicated,' he says.
'You don't win votes for
tackling it and there are no quick
wins. This leaves individuals to
grapple with the issue with



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