Obesity time bomb for our children

CHILDREN in Suffolk are facing a ticking obesity time-bomb it was revealed today.More than a quarter of girls in the county (26pc), aged between two and 15, are overweight or obese.

CHILDREN in Suffolk are facing a ticking obesity time-bomb it was revealed today.

More than a quarter of girls in the county (26pc), aged between two and 15, are overweight or obese.

Ten per cent of boys of the same age are also classed as overweight or obese.

The figures have been unveiled in an assessment of Suffolk's young people that was recently published by the county council, but date back to 2002.

More recent figures were not available but, if the county reflects national trends, things are believed to be getting worse.

Brian Keeble, director of public health in east Suffolk, said: “It certainly has the potential to be a big problem.

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“Essentially, what's happening is that people are eating the same amount they used to 30 or 40 years ago but their levels of activity have declined, and that's adults as well as children.

“Unless we can get people to be more active then we are going to have a problem.

“There are a whole raft of illnesses that are associated with obesity, from heart disease to strokes and diabetes.”

The news comes a day after health trusts announced plans to weigh and measure hundreds of school children in a bid to get to grips with the scale of the problem.

All children in reception classes or in year six who are at school in east Suffolk will be surveyed, but Mr Keeble said this is just a starting point.

He said: “I don't think it's just a problem for the NHS. I think it's something we have to lead on but it's about looking at all the different reasons why people don't do as much exercise as they used to and work with other organisations.”

He cited things like computer games and TV as part of the problem but said it may also be due to a changing social climate.

He said: “When I was growing up in Ipswich 40 years ago people used to roam all over the place. Nowadays parents find it quite difficult to let children out of their sight.

“That's not because Ipswich is a dangerous place, it's because people are more aware about the things that can go on.”

Are you struggling to get help for your obese children? Contact The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email StarNews@eveningstar.co.uk.

There are currently 157,660 people aged 18 or under in Suffolk. This represents 23pc of the total population.

In 2002 5.7 per cent of boys and 20.7pc of girls aged two to 15 were reported as overweight, and a further 6.6pc of boys and 5.8pc girls as obese.

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