Obesity in youngsters should worry everyone

It's fair to say the figures we bring you today are a little depressing.

Statistics from the British Heart Foundation reveal that around 30 per cent of 10 and 11-year-olds in this area are classed as overweight or obese.

Take a moment to think about that – not just one or two chubby children in a class, but a third of them.

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Of course there’s nothing new about childhood obesity and the figures are in line with the national average, but it paints a picture of a society with a problem.

And the report does not shy away from this. One of the issues it raises is that the during an episode of the highly-popular TV show X Factor, there were 13 adverts for junk foods.

With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that some young people’s diets are not all they could be. But the statistics also raise the wider issue of healthy living.

These overweight young people are the diabetes sufferers of tomorrow. They are a burden on the NHS that could easily be lifted with a little common sense.

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Schools already have to provide a balanced diet in their meals, but a lot of what children learn about food will happen in the home. So, as is often the case, it’s parents that can make a big difference.

If youngsters see parents popping a ready meal in the microwave, that’s what they’re going to think is the norm.

It’s hardly surprising that they learn from the environment they grow up in.

So for a start, more parents could cook from scratch. It’s healthier and often cheaper than off-the-shelf ready meals.

That might just be a start and, along with tackling advertising run within programmes popular with youngsters, something that could make a real difference in the future.