UK childhood obesity rates grow by 300% in a decade

UK childhood obesity rates grow by 300% in a decade which will lead to a heart disease epidemic by 2020

Number of obesity-related cases has risen from 872 in 2000 to 3,806 in 2009.

“The fast paced nature and rising cost of day-to-day living means parents are often left with little option but to feed their family quick and easy food which is often extremely unhealthy.  This, and the fact children favour video games or watching television over playing outside, is a recipe for disaster.  We need to look seriously at how fast food is marketed at children – and consider banning junk food prior to the 9pm watershed, limiting the number of fast food outlets near schools and making sure children are taught the importance of a healthy, balanced diet”
Professor Mitch Blair of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

“We need a thorough reappraisal of the way we allow the food industry to get away with stuffing unhealthy levels of fat and sugar into their food.  We need to ban fizzy drinks and sugar-laden drinks entirely.  This research really shows we are on a public health knife edge.  We have concentrated so much on getting adults slim, that we have not paid enough attention to the obesity epidemic facing our children.  I’m not surprised by this leap [in childhood obesity rates and diseases], and I won’t be surprised if in five years we’re talking about another significant rise.  When it comes to obesity we have taken our eyes off children to such an extent that they are now completely unmonitored and left to get on with it.  The real tragedy was obese schoolgirls becoming pregnant.  Pregnancy complications linked to obesity included gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, the dangerous condition pre-eclampsia, and neural tube defects.  Obese girls gave birth to overweight babies, who started life on the back foot and were predisposed to obesity.  We’ve got a substantial number of our children going into their secondary school life ill-equipped to know what the consequences of fatness and obesity are.  If we’re going to see the end of this problem we need to be addressing it from the word go to ensure we do all we can to stop children becoming fat in the first place
Tam Fry, who is chairman of the Child Growth Foundation charity.

“We know obese children are more likely to become obese adults who are then at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.  These are very worrying findings that shed more light on a growing threat to the heart health of this nation
Amy Thompson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation.

“This is one of the first studies to show health problems linked to obesity are affecting children.  The figures are alarming.  What’s new about our paper is that we’re actually showing the [damage] within the early life course, so in other words, in the teenage years.  That’s where it’s becoming manifest.  This is no longer a ticking obesity timebomb – it has exploded.  The burden of obesity is usually thought to have its serious consequences in adulthood, but we now see it in childhood.  It’s clear that rising obesity levels are causing more medical problems in children…”
Dr Sonia Saxena, Imperial School of Public Health.

What does the 2013 Imperial School of Public Health Report tell us about our children eating the modern diet?

  • Asthma and type II diabetes are the most common obesity-related complaints
  • National Health Service figures show a more than FOUR-FOLD RISE over just 10 years in children suffering from overweight health issues
  • 30% of English children aged 2-15 are overweight
  • 20% of English children aged 2-15 are obese
  • UK has the highest rate of child obesity in Western Europe
  • Almost 21,000 kids aged 5-19 were treated from 2000-2009
  • Obesity has an impact much earlier in life than was predicted
  • Experts warn this is evidence that easy access to junk food and sedentary living are harming our children’s health (duh)
  • Bariatric surgery went from just one case in 2000 to 31 in 2009
  • 70% of parents of overweight children are in denial about the health risks said a University of Newcastle study                                                          

Study led by Dr Sonia Saxena of Imperial College London and researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina and the Imperial School of Public Health, with data from the National Health Service UK health statistics, as published online in the journal PLoS ONE, on 13 June 2013.  As reported on 12 June 2013 by The Daily Mail,, BBC News, and 


Posted: Wednesday 19 June 2013