Good news, but battle continues for obese children

Childhood obesity rates, that shocking metric of parental neglect, inappropriate diet and a sedentary lifestyle, may have reached a high and may even be in decline. What good news that would be.

Findings published by the open-access online journal BMC Public Health and presented by researchers from UCC and UCD today record that despite a 300% increase in life-defining childhood obesity between 1970 and 2000 that dangerous trend slowed between 2002 and 2012. Figures show that obesity levels among children were static, ranging between 25% and 37%. Adult levels fell from 7% to 4%. One-in-four children remain overweight or obese and the likelihood of being overweight or obese is higher among girls than boys.

Though these figures are a cause for minor celebration obesity levels are still far too high and they demand ongoing attention and intervention. In this regard it would be more than cheering if today’s budget introduced some form of sugar tax, especially on fizzy drinks which are at the root of so many weight problems faced by children and teenagers.

Poor diet and portion size are primary influences in a child becoming overweight but a sedentary lifestyle plays a significant role too.

However, the greatest responsibility for a child’s health rests with their parents and they should be given every support in that never-ending and difficult challenge.

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