The British Heart Foundation has called the Health Survey for England’s figures on childhood obesity “alarming”, after it found there is a correlation between childhood obesity and their parents’ weight.
The Health Survey for England 2017 monitored trends in the nation’s health and surveyed 8,000 adults and 2,000 children about a variety of topics including obesity, smoking, and drinking.
According to the survey, 28% of children who have an obese mother were also obese, this is compared to just 8% of children whose mother was not obese or overweight. Meanwhile, 24% of children with an obese father were also obese compared to 9% of children whose father was not overweight or obese.
Obesity can lead to a number of health problems, such as raised cholesterol levels, increased blood pressure and enhancing the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. All of these are risk factors for coronary disease. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular physical activity can help to curb obesity and uphold a healthy weight.
Other findings in the survey are also a cause for concern according to the charity. The survey also found that the proportion of adults reporting doctor-diagnosed diabetes increased between 1994 and 2017, with some year-on-year fluctuation, from 3% to 8% among men and from 2% to 5% among women.
The increase has been largest for those aged 65 to 74, increasing from 5% in 1994 to 15% in 2017. Diabetes is a major risk factor in developing heart and circulatory diseases.
John Maingay, director of policy and public affairs at the British Heart Foundation, said: “These alarming figures suggest we could be storing up a future of health problems for future generations unless we act now. Obese children are more likely to be obese adults and this, coupled with spiralling diabetes rates, could lead to thousands more people suffering heart attacks and strokes in the coming years.
“The government’s Childhood Obesity Plan is taking us in the right direction but, as these latest figures tell us, there is a huge amount of work to be done to ensure children of obese parents are supported in making healthier decisions. This can be achieved through tighter regulation of sugar and fat content in food, and by developing stricter regulations in marketing and promoting unhealthy food to children. Action needs to be taken today to curb obesity, or it will present a formidable challenge to the NHS for years to come.”