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Obesity & Junk Food

UK Obesity Rates in Children and Junk Food

A new study shows that thousands of inactive and obese UK children are at risk of disease.

  • Around 10 per cent of UK children now diagnosed as overweight, and between 2 and 3 per cent as obese. Doctors are struggling to see what can be done to shift an entire generation’s eating habits.
  • Exercise is crucial. Fewer than 5 per cent of children walk or cycle to school, compared with 80 per cent 20 years ago. And many schools are blamed for adding to the problem by selling off playing fields, having no proper sports halls and doing too little to offer healthy lunches.

UK Obesity Rates – Soft Drinks

The food industry must also take blame for aggressively marketing food high in fat and sugar at children, according to Dr Susan Jebb, of the Medical Research Council’s Human Nutrition Research Centre in Cambridge. One of her biggest concerns is the obesity dangers of fizzy soft drinks.

‘We know around one-fifth of children get more than 20 per cent of their total energy from sugar, and around one-quarter of that 20 per cent comes from soft drinks,’ she said.

Jebb is also worried about ‘super-sizing’, the making of king-size chocolate bars and bags of crisps. ‘These are attractive to poorer families because you are getting more food for the same price,’ Jebb said. “But if you put a big bag in your child’s lunch box, do they save half for the next day? Of course not.’ And that’s how we gain weight and ultimately become obese.

Source: Guardian Newspaper (2002)

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