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Childhood obesity figures on the rise

Childhood obesity figures on the rise

Over 35% of European kids aged 5-13 will be overweight or obese by 2012, new findings from Datamonior report.

In the US, this figure will surpass 40% while Asia-Pacific, in particular China, is seeing the fastest increase in the percentage of overweight or obese kids. In the UK, childhood obesity has trebled since the 1980s.

Datamonitor estimates that in 2007 33% of 5-13 year olds were overweight or obese which equates to 2.1 million children. Datamonitor further predicts that this number will rise to 2.3 million by 2012.

In addition to recorded statistics, the perceived spread of the problem has also been noticed by European adult consumers.  According to a Eurobarometer survey, some 85% of consumers in the UK agree they feel there are more overweight children now than five years previously. In France, Sweden and Germany this proportion exceeds 90%.

Consumption of food though is of course an issue. In Europe, children consume more than the population average in many energy-dense, indulgence food and drink categories.

European kids consume 17% more than the population average in confectionery (9.8% UK), 23% in Savoury Snacks (20.4% UK), almost 26% in Ice Cream (27.5% UK), and 33% in fizzy drinks (31.4% UK).

Furthermore, a reliance on packaged food to provide balanced nutrition has led to many children accessing a diet that is geared too much towards convenience rather than balanced nourishment. In the western world children are now suffering because their diet is not balanced and is too rich in calories.

Much of the problem of childhood obesity is that the conditions for its prevalence are so rife, making a healthy weight more difficult to maintain.

Modern lifestyles can encourage bad eating and exercise habits, which make keeping slim a difficult goal to achieve. In countries where many retail developments and leisure venues are increasingly located on the periphery of urban centres the importance of the motor car is likely to continue unchallenged unless either regulation or the cost of ownership makes cars less affordable.

The situation of more children travelling to school by car or public transport may become more extreme in future if more children travel greater distances to access the best-ranked schools in a parallel of more adults commuting to work over greater distances.

With a growing dependence on cars and public transport to travel ever further to school, fewer children are regularly benefiting from the moderate exercise of walking, which limits the amount of ‘unnoticed’ exercise taken by children.

Percentage of obese and overweight children (5-13 year olds) in Europe, 2002-2012


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