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Sunday July 14, 2024

‘Deeply worrying’ rise in child obesity in England: report

Country´s recent cost of living crisis has “intensified” the struggle many families face to put healthy, nutritious food on the table

By AFP
June 20, 2024
A representational image of an obese child during exercise. — Reuters/File
A representational image of an obese child during exercise. — Reuters/File

LONDON: Obesity in 10- and 11-year-olds in England has risen 30 percent since 2006, part of a far-reaching decline in children´s health since the start of the century, said a report published on Wednesday.

The study by charity the Food Foundation described the increase in children struggling with their weight as “deeply worrying”.

Other findings included a steady fall in the height of five-year-olds since 2013 and a rise in type 2 diabetes among under 25s, up 22 percent in the past five years.

Potential causes included “shocking levels of poverty and deprivation” and the “aggressive promotion of cheap junk food by the food industry”, said the report´s authors.

The country´s recent cost of living crisis has “intensified” the struggle many families face to put healthy, nutritious food on the table, they added.

The decline was “shocking and deeply sad”, former government food adviser Henry Dimbleby said in the report.

He urged whichever political party wins the UK general election on July 4 to take “decisive action to make healthy and sustainable food affordable (and) stop the junk food escalation”.

One in five children was obese by the age of 10/11 when they left primary school, putting them at greater risk of later developing type 2 diabetes, according to the research.

Despite the publication of 14 government strategies to tackle obesity between 1992 and 2000 “containing 989 policies, no progress has been made”.