The Link Between Social Standing and Obesity

Research data from the UK has shown once again that there is a direct link between childhood obesity and social standing. The national childhood measurement program found that children from poorer areas were twice as likely to be overweight or obese when compared to children from more affluent homes.

Childhood Obesity Study in the UK

Figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre indicate that 610,636 children aged between four and five were measured as part of the program.

21.9 per cent of them were classed as overweight or obese, whereas only 11.5 per cent of children living in more affluent areas were overweight or obese. Older children aged between 10 and 11 fared no better and the percentage of overweight and obese kids had risen to 25 per cent, with boys from deprived areas even more likely to have a weight problem.

Obesity levels in the same group were even worse, with the percentage of children classed as clinically obese doubling between the ages of four and eleven.

The figures suggest that more needs to be done to educate families living in poorer areas about the effects of diet on their children’s health. The fact that many children are piling on the weight between starting infant school and leaving for high school is strongly indicative of a failing government strategy to tackle childhood obesity in the UK.

Childhood Obesity in the US

Of course it isn’t just the UK that has a problem with childhood obesity. According to the CDC, the percentage of children who are obese has doubled in the past 30 years – by 2012, almost one third of children and adolescents were classed as overweight or obese.

So what is the solution?

Childhood obesity is a massive challenge for all developed countries. Children from families living in poorer communities have less access to healthcare information and less money to spend on nutritious food. Families need to be better educated on the benefits of eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, and reducing their intake of high-fat junk food.

The problem in many areas is that processed foods are often cheaper than healthier alternatives. Affluent families can afford to spend money on fresh fruit and vegetables whereas poor families cannot. Many campaigners are calling for governments to tax food manufacturers to incentivize them into reducing levels of sugar, salt, and fat in mass produced food items.

Parents Need to Take Action

Parents also have to take some responsibility, however. They should keep a close eye on their children’s portion sizes and limit them if necessary. Simple strategies such as banning fizzy drinks, candy and junk food will help. So will encouraging children to take more exercise at home and at school.

There will never be a magic bullet to cure childhood obesity, but parents should lead by example by eating a healthy diet doing their bit to ensure their children eat a healthy diet, too. And if parents have a weight problem, they can look at weight loss resources, such as those on offer at the Trim Down Club.

Written by Guest Submitter

Photo by Spree2010


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One Response

  1. Gayl Killough December 21, 2015

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