BIG TROUBLE FOR OUR KIDS; Obesity Is Threatening the Lives of at Least One-in-Three Children in Liverpool, Shocking New Research Has Revealed. KIRSTI ADAIR Reports

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), May 18, 2005 | Go to article overview

BIG TROUBLE FOR OUR KIDS; Obesity Is Threatening the Lives of at Least One-in-Three Children in Liverpool, Shocking New Research Has Revealed. KIRSTI ADAIR Reports


MORE than a third of children in Liverpool are overweight, shocking new figures reveal.

The biggest study into childhood obesity in the city shows almost 2,000 youngsters aged between nine and 11 are overweight, and the numbers are rising.

Children in Vauxhall have more weight problems than any other area, according to the six-year research.

Liverpool council has launched a five-year fitness drive to tackle the problem.

Liz Lamb, Liverpool's health and physical fitness officer, said: 'This is a serious problem and we have to stop this trend. We are investing a huge amount of resources - pounds 900,000 - into getting obesity rates down.

'This is one of the most detailed surveys ever undertaken in the UK and lets us see the full extent of the problem.

The study, which formed part of Liverpool's Sportslinx fitness programme for children, showed one-infour boys and a third of girls aged 11 were overweight.

After Vauxhall, Everton and Clubmoor has the highest proportion of obese youngsters.

Health workers say the areas with the worst rates will be targeted for improvement.

The percentage of obese nine to 10year-old boys doubled from 6% in 1998 to 12% in 2004, and the percentage of obese girls of the same age increased from 5% to 10%.

It is estimated that, by 2020, nearly a third of adults will be seriously overweight and have twice the risk of dying early.

Council leader Mike Storey said: 'Obesity is a ticking time bomb which has to be tackled if we are going to ensure that people lead long and healthy lives.'

Dr Dympna Edwards, director of public health for north Liverpool primary care trust, added: 'Only two out of 10 people are active enough to benefit their health, but eight out of 10 think they are.

'We have got a childhood obesity problem which is increasing rapidly. If it continues we could have a generation of children unlikely to live longer than their parents.

'This is a major public health problem which needs tackling and we are confronting it head on in Liverpool.' Chief executive of Vauxhall neighbourhood council Marie McGiveron said she was not surprised her area came out worst.

She said: 'Historically this area does not have a good record for health and children's health is no different.

'Schools in the area have started to work on healthy meal programmes but we really need more activities for young people to encourage them to exercise

Connor's battle

TWELVE-YEAR-OLD Connor Bennett, from Whiston, has struggled with his weight since he was a toddler.

But when his primary school teachers noticed him becoming breathless, his mother, Lillian, 44, took action.

She said: 'Connor has always been big. It never really bothered him. He was a big eater and loved all the usual things - crisps and sweets and chocolate.

'It was never really a problem. He did have a bit of weight on but I think the main issue was his inactivity. He loved the Playstation and would spend hours just doing that. He just got bigger and bigger.

'I became concerned when it was obvious it was affecting his health and he wanted to do something about it.

'He was also moving from primary school to senior school and I didn't want him to have problems. …

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