27/08/2013

Obesity Cases Rise Among NI Children

A charity is to expand its health programme after a new study revealed children in Northern Ireland are among the least active in the UK.

According to the BBC, research carried out by the University College London reveals only 43% of seven-year-olds are believed to have the recommended one hour of exercise each day, with girls being worse than boys.

Now, the Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke (NICHS) charity has said steps need to be taken to stop the rising cases of childhood obesity.

Chief Executive Andrew Dougal is quoted as saying: "In combination with too little exercise, too many children are eating poor diets which are high in fat, salt and sugar.
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"It's particularly worrying that the exercise survey was carried out among seven-year-olds, because children tend to become less, rather than more active as they become older."

Mr Dougal added that cases of childhood obesity had increased from 27% in 2010/11 to 31% in 2011/12, with indications that the levels will increase further.

"To address the problem, we need to see co-operation between schools, parents, food producers, government and health charities," he added.

"That's one of the reasons we have expanded our health programmes in schools and plan to expand them further from the start of 2014."

The programmes introduce both primary and secondary school pupils to a healthier lifestyle, including hints and tips on better eating, more exercise and giving up smoking.

(JP/CD)

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