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Leading Doctor Warns Of Dangers Of Childhood Obesity Crisis

Family doctors should go into schools to warn pupils of the risks of fast food, the new president of the Royal Society of Medicine’s General Practice section believes.

overweight boy in field

23rd October 2023

Dr Jay Verma says the move is needed to tackle the growing obesity crisis among children in the UK. 

Dr Verma has suggested that the scheme could follow the model the police use to tell school pupils how to stay safe when they’re out and about. 

The remarks come as different governments have failed to halt sky-high levels of overweight children, or even to stabilise the numbers. 

Clearly, there are multiple problems that go along with being obese – usually defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above – from diabetes to cardiovascular disease, among other issues. Being overweight also places greater stress on the joints. 

Diabetes UK says that nearly half of all Type 2 cases of the disease were either preventable or could have been delayed. And the Tony Blair Institute warned this summer that record-level child obesity figures are risking the future of the UK. 

Obesity currently costs the NHS £6bn a year, a figure which is set to only increase in the future, potentially rising to £9.7bn by 2050. 

Obesity Rates Growing Amongst School Children

The National Child Measurement Programme, which NHS Digital publishes, found that: 

  • At reception age (4-5), a tenth of pupils were obese, while 12.1% were overweight 
  • By Year 6 (10-11), nearly a quarter were obese and 14.3% overweight 

“The figures don’t bode well,” Dr Verma told a national newspaper, as he stressed that changing behaviour was the best weapon in the battle against youth obesity. 

“It’s a huge challenge, and if we don’t solve it the secondary (hospital) care costs are going to be enormous.” 

At his West London practice, Dr Verma has run an award-winning pilot scheme with his own patients and others based locally. This used video consultations to help people manage their diabetes and discuss healthier lifestyle choices with each other. 

His proposals follow other ideas for tackling childhood obesity. For example, in Swindon fast-food shops will not be allowed to trade near schools, according to council plans reported by the BBC. 

How Could An Outdoor Gym Help?

Clearly, in any strategy tackling obesity, exercise and diet need to go hand in hand. One excellent way to make physical activity more appealing is with an outside gym, since this equipment provides a whole-body workout in a fun way which provides all the benefits of being outside in the fresh air. 

At Fresh Air Fitness, we supply award-winning outdoor gym equipment for schools, parks, recreation grounds and other locations. What we produce is fully compliant and suited to all ages and fitness levels, plus it comes with a 25-year warranty. 

An outdoor workout could be a key step in tackling the very real problem of childhood obesity in your community. Get in touch with us today to learn more.  

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