'Shock obesity figures reflect kids' lifestyles'
SHOCKING new statistics reveal that over 28 per cent of five-year-old children in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire are overweight or obese.
The figures were obtained through Public Health Wales's first Child Measurement Programme in which all reception aged children were weighed.
The results paint a grim picture across the country and reveals the problem here is worse than England and Scotland.
In Swansea 28.7 per cent of our under- fives are overweight or obese while Neath Port Talbot faired slightly worse at 29.9 per cent. The figure for Carmarthenshire is 28.2 per cent.
If left unchecked, being overweight causes serious health risks later in life such as diabetes and heart disease.
Politicians and health professionals have greeted the news with grave concern and have called for immediate action to help prevent a health crisis in the future.
At present obesity among young people is said to cost the Welsh NHS more than £70million a year.
Dr Dai Lloyd, former AM for South Wales West, said: "It's a very worrying statistic. It is a reflection of modern lifestyle. The percentages never used to be that high.
"As a society, we all have a responsibility to eradicate this problem. Junk food isn't the only issue, we need to ensure that we are controlling portion sizes."
He added that he did not feel that schools should take much responsibility for these statistics, as they have been active in recent years in reducing the amount of unhealthy food that is available in school canteens, and working with the government to promote healthy eating and exercise as much as possible.
He said: "PE is something that should be a priority in schools, perhaps not as much as Maths and English, but it is clear that children need to be exercising at every opportunity. Exercise needs to be a normal part of a child's routine, it should be more easily accessible than junk food."
And Swansea GP Charlotte Jones said: "We need to educate children and parents on how to start making healthy choices. We must inform them of the facts without scaring them because there are a lot of measures we can take to resolve the problem. It is essential that healthy food is as affordable as junk food, to encourage people to make healthy choices. We can also help families by educating them on healthy, affordable recipes."
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