Home > Nutrition & Health > The UK Obesity Crisis: Overweight Children

The UK Obesity Crisis: Overweight Children

By: Joanne Walker BA (hons) - Updated: 5 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Overweight Obese Children Youngsters

New figures have been released which show that the obesity crisis among children in the UK is getting worse, despite a concerted effort to half the tide of overweight youngsters. An addiction to fast food, computer games and an increasingly risk averse culture has already been credited with causing the weight of Britain’s youngsters to soar. But now the new figures have shed light on the current situation and suggested that perhaps the problem is getting worse – despite a wide range of initiatives designed to help families to get fitter together.

Who Collected the Data?

The data, revealed in February 2011, shows that as many as one in four of the UK’s primary schoolchildren are overweight when they actually start school, aged just four years old. The figures have been revealed by the National Child Measurement programme, which weighs all children when they start school in a bid to be able to advise parents on whether their son or daughter is the correct weight for their age and height. The children are then weighed again on leaving primary school at age eleven. But parents can withdraw their child from the scheme and do not have to have them measured – which means that some children, possibly the biggest, have not been included in the figures and the true proportion of overweight four-year-olds could be higher.

Leaving Primary School

But the data makes for stark reading as it is – with it pointing towards one in three children being overweight when they go to secondary school, by which time they will already be at serious risk of being an overweight adult and the associated long-term health problems which come with obesity. The scheme showed that almost exactly one third of eleven-year-olds are ‘too fat’ when they leave primary school - a rapid rise on 31 per cent just four years ago. The situation is worse for boys than girls, with 20 per cent of eleven-year-old boys been deemed obese – not even just overweight – and 18.7 of girls.

Health Issues

And already, children are developing health problems more usually seen in adults heading towards old age. Children have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, cholesterol and even type 2 diabetes as a result of their diet, with some doctors warning patients as young as 15 that they are running the risk of heart disease.

The National Obesity Forum’s Tam Fry warned that promises from the UK authorities that childhood obesity was not getting worse had been left wanting.

She added that until the Government put in place measures for all children to arrive at school with a healthy weight, obesity rates would increase.

The measurement programme has not been without its critics – with many people saying it is unhelpful and unhealthy to allow children so young to be worried about their weight. But whether you agree with the way the scheme is conducted or not, the data dopes not lie. And while some children will be bigger or heavier for their age without being overweight, it does not follow that this would account for such high numbers of overweight children. The nation’s reliance on fast food and easy meals has to stop before all children start to suffer as a result.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Irene
    Re: Activities for 3-5 Year Olds
    I like the comments exercise is very important for young children
    8 October 2019
  • Cat
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    My son is 8 yrs old and was in football club today. When I came to pick him up they were in shorts and t-shirt outside in heavy rain he…
    24 September 2019
  • Dave121
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    I see some comments on here saying that PE is compulsory, however, the Education Act of 2002 prohibits the Secretary of State for…
    12 September 2019
  • PeIsBad
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    I'm in Year 10 and P.E is made a living hell for me, the girls in the class shout at you and put you down swearing at you and telling you…
    10 September 2019
  • ASN teacher
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    There is more to pe than simply sports. It is good for growing brain cells (for real). It is good for social skills (if delivered…
    25 August 2019
  • ellz
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    My son went through he'll at school because of his bullying pe teacher my son has a pigeon chest and shortness of breath and is currently…
    6 August 2019
  • Joel
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    I’m 12 and PE in my opinion is stupid. To me, it’s an entrance ticket for bullying. My school especially needs to understand not everyone…
    8 June 2019
  • fina
    Re: Active Games for Teens
    wow interesting thanks this is my essay!@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    29 May 2019
  • Waleed
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    Im in year 9 and we have 1 double lession a week and in those lessons we are forced to do exercise. The think I hate is the treadmills…
    23 April 2019
  • EndPE
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    PE needs to not be compulsory for GCSE students, if the kids are unfit that's their problem but PE does not and will not help them,…
    26 March 2019