Obesity ‘one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century’
Obesity is a growing problem blighting the lives of thousands of youngsters across our region. Last year, a third of 10 and 11-year-olds were classed as being overweight or obese.
Experts warn too much fast food, and sugary drinks in portions that are too big, combined with too little exercise, is all adding up to an obesity epidemic in children.
Overweight children are also developing conditions and illnesses normally associated with adults. Doctors and health experts in Sheffield say they have seen children as young as 10 with type 2 diabetes and fatty livers.
The World Health Organisation regards it as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century.
Consultant paediatrician Neil Wright is keen to stress it’s a temporary measure and one that’s far from a quick fix.
“What we’re hoping it will achieve is to help children change their lifestyle, to do more diet and exercise and the balloon can really kick start weight loss alongside a lifestyle intervention programme so that we can help slim the very overweight children down and improve their health and improve things like diabetes, blood pressure, difficulties they have with their breathing.”
In last week’s budget, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that a sugar tax on soft drinks will be introduced in the next two years, with money being re-invested in school sport to tackle childhood obesity – but does it go far enough?
Consultant paediatrician Neil Wright said losing weight can help children improve health and prevent conditions like diabetes, blood pressure and breathing difficulties.
Kath Sharman is one woman trying to stem the tide. The Shine health academy she set up in Sheffield thirteen years ago has supported up to 200 families a year to tackle issues with weight, diet, exercise and lifestyle. She sees the shocking impact obesity is having on children’s health before they even reach puberty.