07/12/2017

40% Of Teens Are Overweight In NI - Report

New research has revealed that Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of overweight or obese teenagers in the UK.

A total of 20% of 14-year-olds in the UK are in the obese category, and a further 15% were found to be overweight, according to new figures from research carried out by experts at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at University College London (UCL).

In Northern Ireland, 40% of 14-year-olds were overweight or obese, compared to 38% in Wales and 35% in both Scotland and England.

Professor Emla Fitzsimons, who co-authored the study, said: "Children who are overweight or obese face an increased risk of many health problems later in life, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

"Overweight and obesity are also associated with psychological problems such as low self-esteem and depression, and with lower educational attainment.
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"As members of the millennium generation reach early adolescence, rates of obesity and overweight remain a public health concern.

"These findings show that although rates of excess weight have stabilised since age 11, there is still a worryingly high proportion of young people in this generation who are an unhealthy weight."

Sinn Fein MLA Catherine Kelly called for new inventive measures to be introduced.

She said: "The worrying thing is, unless this issue is tackled, the rate will continue to grow.

"It is vital that parents are educated around healthy eating and living to enable the children to lead a healthy lifestyle.

"Schools should also play a part in teaching children the importance of living a healthy lifestyle through educating the pupils about nutrition as children who are overweight or obese face an increased risk of health problems later in life.

"A restriction on junk food advertising is needed as currently children can see up to nine junk-food adverts in just 30 minutes while watching their favourite shows and we know this influences their food choices and how much they eat."

(CD/LM)

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