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New figures support evidence of 'childhood obesity crisis'

08 December 2017 09:22

Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes

Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes

More than a third of teenagers in Britain are obese or overweight, new figures show.

A fifth (20%) of 14 year olds are obese, with a further 15% considered to be overweight, a study by experts at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at University College London (UCL) has found.

Paediatric experts say the research is evidence that the UK is grappling with a "childhood obesity crisis".

Later-life health problems

Childhood obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular illness and other health issues, one of the study's authors has said.

"Overweight and obesity are also associated with psychological problems such as low self-esteem and depression, and with lower educational attainment," continued Professor Emla Fitzsimons.

She added: "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."

Regional differences

Researchers analysed data from 10,000 teenagers who are taking part in a large-scale study tracking the lives of thousands of young people.

Data from the Millennium Cohort Study has been broken down to identify regional differences. For instance in Northern Ireland, obesity and weight issues affect two in five (40%) teenagers.

In Wales the ratio is 38% and in Scotland and England it is 35%.

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, added: "The study tellingly confirms the appalling level of obesity of our children as they enter their teenage years - with the certainty that it will continue to rise."

Travellers with a condition related to their weight, or other pre-existing medical issues, can still enjoy overseas holidays and trips abroad by taking out medical travel insurance.