The largest analysis of child obesity trends in history has revealed that ten times more children are obese than four decades ago. The study presented by the Lancet suggests that around 124 million children across the globe are larger than they should be.
Current figures show that 10% of children between the ages of five and 19 are obese and that is without considering overweight statistics. It means that the number of children weighing more than a healthy amount is likely to exceed the percentage of young people underweight as those figures continue to decline.
With conditions such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and strokes more likely to strike overweight individuals, the global cost of treating ill health could hit figures just short of £950 billion each year by 2025. East Asia, in particular, is at crisis point after an alarming rise in the number of overweight and obese children over recent years.
Our Government recently introduced a tax levy on sugary drinks and pumped money into a strategy to develop more physical activity opportunities in schools. However, Dr Alison Tedstone from Public Health England admitted to the BBC, ‘this is just the beginning of a long journey to tackle the challenge of a generation’.
However, staff at Evolve have explained that a focus on sport is not necessarily the answer to the growing obesity epidemic.
Graham Morgan, Chairman of Evolve, has called for ‘new approaches. Health needs to become a key subject in the school curriculum’.
Amie Richards, Regional Manager for Wales, also explained, ‘sport is not the answer. A rounded approach to a healthy lifestyle needs to be given to children at a young age’.
The statistics are damning but the overwhelming consensus is that more needs to be done across the globe to halt the worrying and continuous rise in obesity levels.
Let us know your thoughts. Should health and wellbeing become a key subject in schools?