RSPH on tackling the childhood obesity epidemic

The Royal Society for Public Health have just published an excellent report outlining the drivers of childhood obesity and suggesting the following measures to tackle the epidemic:

• Reform or scrap the ‘fat letter’ to primary school parents

• Introduce a daily hour of ‘fun and play’ in primary schools and measures to make walking and cycling safer for children

• Restrict junk food advertising to children online and on social media

• End junk food sponsorship of family and sporting events

• Reformulation of food and drinks high in sugar, including introducing a ‘sugar tax’ on sugar sweetened drinks

• Improve training for health and other workers to offer advice to parents during pregnancy and early years

 

The alarming level of childhood obesity in the UK is well documented, but some associated statistics of interest are…

National Child Measurement Programme – children’s weight is routinely measured in Reception and Year 6 however:

  • 47% of parents told their child was obese/ overweight disagree, often, incorrectly, believing that ‘puppy fat’ is something a child will grow out of.
  • Parents in some parts of the UK aren’t given feedback about their child’s weight (are they in Birmingham and just how are we communicating with our diverse communities?)

Activity levels – it is recommended that children undertake 60 minutes of physical activity each day however:

  • Just 28% do
  • The average child spends 6 hours a day in front of a screen

 

The full report can be read here

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