20% of nine-year-olds overweight

20% of nine-year-olds overweight

By Joe Leogue

More than one in five nine-year-olds in Ireland are either overweight or obese, and only a quarter meet the recommended daily level of activity for children, according to a major longitudinal study.

The ‘Growing up in Ireland’ study, which has tracked the progress of two groups of children since 2007, also discovered that a higher proportion of children from lower-income families are overweight or obese compared to those from the highest income group.

    The study found that:

  • 78% of nine-year-olds were not overweight; 17% were overweight and 5% were obese;
  • Girls were more likely than boys to be overweight/obese (23% vs. 21%);
  • 32% of children in the lowest income group were overweight or obese compared to 14% in the highest income group;
  • Only one-quarter of nine-year-olds reported being physically active for at least 60 minutes every single day — the World Health Organisation recommended level of activity for children;
  • The rate of meeting this recommended level is higher for boys than girls (28% vs. 22%);
  • 26% of those in the highest-income category were physically active on five to six days per week, compared to only 20% in the lowest-income category.

It found that 77% of mothers of nine-year-olds reported that their child did not have a longstanding condition, illness or disability.

Just over one in 10 (11%) said their child had a condition but were not hampered by it.

A similar number (10%) had a condition and were considered to be hampered to some extent, and 2% said their child had a condition and were hampered severely.

The most common reported long-standing conditions were respiratory conditions, such as asthma, mental and behavioural issues, and skin conditions.

The percentage of children hampered by a longstanding condition increased with age and has been higher for boys than girls at each age.

For boys, this figure rose from 6% of three-year-olds to 16% of nine-year-olds, and went from 4% of girls aged three to 9% of nine-year-old girls.

Dorothy Watson from the ESRI said the finding on the low rate of meeting the physical activity targets and evidence of poorer outcomes for children in socially-disadvantaged families are “areas of concern”.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone said the findings provide important insights into the lives of nine-year-olds.

“While most nine-year-olds are doing well there are also areas of concern which will require action,” she said.

“The evidence of inequalities, with some children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds doing less well in a number of areas, does require attention.

Early intervention and prevention and a whole of Government approach are needed to tackle child poverty.

More on this topic

Measures to cut childhood obesity by 50% supported by public - surveyMeasures to cut childhood obesity by 50% supported by public - survey

'Very unfair' that Ireland has highest obesity rate, yet poorest access to treatment'Very unfair' that Ireland has highest obesity rate, yet poorest access to treatment

Ireland spends least across EU on obesity treatmentIreland spends least across EU on obesity treatment

Research strengthens link between maternal obesity and the impact on offspringResearch strengthens link between maternal obesity and the impact on offspring


More in this Section

Fine Gael TDs want economic ‘realism’, Coveney toldFine Gael TDs want economic ‘realism’, Coveney told

Man breached barring order again day after release on bail, court toldMan breached barring order again day after release on bail, court told

Drunk broke photographer’s teeth on Cork's South MallDrunk broke photographer’s teeth on Cork's South Mall

Cork man loses appeal against conviction over shootingCork man loses appeal against conviction over shooting


Lifestyle

Simple storage solutions for the DIY rookie.8 simple steps to putting up a shelf

Yes, many of us have succumbed to the ‘Covid stone’ and may be trying to lose it but we all need a treat from time to time. Our recipes here incorporate tasty fruits like blueberries, apricots and almonds while Derval’s lime, chocolate and oat biscuits are a delicious and yet healthy sweet treat option.Food and Fun: Take some time out for treats

“Do you know what penguins smell like?” Landscape painter Nicholas Romeril asks, and then laughs at his own question.Nicholas Romeril: Antarctic ice-olation was the perfect training for lockdown

“I am Iron Man.” Although not the most iconic of lines in cinema history, Tony Stark’s final words were repeated across the internet with glee by Marvel fans after the Infinity Saga came to a close. Like one of Dr Strange’s portals, the Marvel cinematic universe had come full circle.GameTech: Iron Man looks a solid bet with VR version

More From The Irish Examiner