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Child Obesity in the UK

Child obesity is an ever growing problem within the UK. High percentages of both young children and adolescence are being recorded as overweight or obese in recent years. Lack of physical activity and bad diets are key factors contributing to the worrying numbers of obese youngsters. SportsDirect.com is taking a look at some of the facts and figures surrounding this issue and here you will find invaluable advice to helping your children stay fit and healthy.

According to the World Health Organisation, child obesity is one of the most serious global public health challenges in the 21st century. Not only is the issue prominent in the UK, but many other countries worldwide find child obesity statistics rising. Being obese as a child increases the risk of developing various health problems and they are more likely to be obese when they reach adulthood. A study by the WHO in 2012/13 resulted in 28% of 2-15 year olds being recorded as overweight or obese.

The BBC reported in a study that nearly 4000 young people needed hospital treatment for problems complicated by being overweight in 2009, compared to just 872 youngsters in 2000. This is a huge rise in patients over the decade and other studies outlining reasons and causes of child obesity back up the data with their statistics.

A report from the British Heart Foundation showed that two fifths of 13 year olds consume fizzy pop every day, while almost half of boys and over a third of girls aged 13 go without breakfast on a regular basis. 80% of children aged 5-15 fail to get their recommended five fruit and vegetables a day and around 85% of girls and 73% of boys aged 13 do not manage to get an hour of physical activity each day. These statistics outline some of the issues linked to child obesity. Not getting enough of the right food and exercise is a main cause of obesity especially in young, developing children.

These figures will be very alarming to many parents, and rightly so. Everyone wants their children to grow up fit and healthy and giving them the right start in life will enable that child to maintain a healthy and steady lifestyle throughout childhood, adolescence and through to adulthood. Ensuring your child eats healthy and intakes their recommended daily allowances of fruit and veg, water, and other factors such as protein, carbohydrates and so on will put your child in a good frame of mind to eat well and not to crave sugary, fatty foods.

Encourage your children to be active at every opportunity possible, find fun things for kids to play or take them out to local parks or leisure centres to release some energy. Having too much energy and not burning it off is how fat becomes stored, so wearing your kids out will ensure if they have eaten too many sugary foods, they will be able to burn it all off. As parents you are responsible for your child’s health and it is vital you make time to take kids out and give them opportunities to exercise.

There are many places you can find help and advise on how to give your children the right nutrition, from cook books and the internet to your GP, so for anyone unsure on how to make sure your child is being healthy there is plenty of help available. Teaching children the importance of healthy eating and exercise at a young age ensures they grow up understanding this, and hopefully apply it to their daily lives once they have flown the nest!