Source: China Daily

05-13-2009 11:47

Special Report:   Tech Max

British children are 'eating themselves into an early grave', a leading obesity expert has warned. Calling for a 'fat tax' on unhealthy foods, Dr Tim Lobstein said that hundreds of thousands were suffering from liver disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol while still in primary school.

British children are 'eating themselves into an early grave', a leading obesity expert has warned. Calling for a 'fat tax' on unhealthy foods
British children are 'eating themselves 
into an early grave', a leading obesity 
expert has warned. Calling for a 'fat tax'
on unhealthy foods.(File photo)

He said a couch potato lifestyle and a growing appetite for junk food meant today's youngsters ran a real risk of being the first generation to die at an earlier age than their parents. Some 91,000 have high cholesterol, 60,000 have high blood pressure and 91,000 have liver disease before even reaching the age of 12, his calculations show.

Few children will realise they even have the conditions that, while symptomless, raise the odds of deadly heart disease, strokes and cirrhosis in later life. And tens of thousands of primary school children have blood sugar and insulin problems linked to diabetes, the European Congress on Obesity heard.

Across Britain's ten million five to 18-year-olds as a whole, 2.3million are overweight or obese, meaning Britain accounts for one- seventh of the European overweight and obese tally of 16million. Dr Lobstein, director of the childhood obesity programme at the International Association for the Study of Obesity, said: 'Child Science Reporter, in Amsterdam obesity has never been higher. It is because of those kinds of figures that their life expectancy is going to be a few years less than those of you or me.

'Britain is near the top of the league of child obesity. 'Our kids are eating themselves into an early grave.' Dr Lobstein's analysis of more than 150 studies found that just over half a million European schoolchildren suffer from high blood pressure. In Britain, this equates to 80,000 under-18s - 60,000 of which will still be at primary school.

It is not yet clear why the figures are so heavily stacked towards younger children. Almost 200,000 under-18s in the UK, including 91,000 under-12s, have high cholesterol.

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