SHOCKING statistics reveal a third of all Warwickshire children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.
Health chiefs in the county are stepping up efforts to fight the rise in childhood obesity with so many youngsters obese by the age of 11, and with one in five overweight when they start primary school.
Obesity can cause various health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and psychological problems such as low self-esteem. An unhealthy relationship with food is also likely to continue into adolescence and adulthood.
A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association said: “As a nation, young and old, we over consume foods high in fat, sugar and salt, and do not eat enough fruit, vegetables, fibre and oily fish.
“Poor diet is such a feature of the lives of our children and young people. We should not tolerate that the next generation is growing up with the normality of regularly consuming processed and fast-food, or that there are children who have no concept of where their food comes from.
“Central to this is creating an environment where it is normal, easy and enjoyable for children and young people to eat healthily.
“How can we expect a child to develop normative behaviours about eating healthily when so many of the messages they are exposed to promote the opposite? Is it reasonable to expect a parent on low income to buy healthy foods for their children when unhealthy processed products are so cheap and heavily promoted?”
Children in Warwickshire are weighed in reception and year six, and families with obese children are followed up through
Warwickshire County Council’s Fitter Futures programme – which encourages families to choose healthy options and incorporate physical activity into their everyday lives.
And they are hoping more young people will use the service for help with weight management, physical activity and lifestyle advice.
Council health spokesman Coun Les Caborn said: “People who have used the Fitter Futures service have already reported how much healthier they feel. Many have reported they are now making healthier food choices, are more active and feel better generally in themselves.
“We want to ensure people of all ages living in Warwickshire are aware of the support which is available free of charge to those eligible.
“The council provides the opportunity for children and their parents or carers to adopt healthy lifestyles so that they can maintain a healthy weight and minimise the risk of disease later in life. Credit should be given to families for the health improvement outcomes they have achieved so far. We want to continue to engage more and more families to the service”
Visit fitterfutureswarwickshire.co.uk to find out more.