The World Health Organisation has issued a warning that diets high in sugars, salts and fats, along with a lack of physical activity has led to obesity being accepted as normal throughout European countries. Approximately 33% of the 11-year olds and 27% of the 13-year olds in Europe are overweight. These figures were released ahead of the EU summit in Greece where special focus will be placed on the health concerns regarding childhood obesity.
Reports have stated that certain countries, such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland have overweight rates for 11-year olds of up to 33%. The UK rate is slightly lower, but Wales indicates a rate of 30% for 11-year old boys.
The WHO believes that a shift in European perception as regards what is normal is the reason behind this phenomenon. Over the past few years being overweight has become commonplace. The World Health Organisation is appealing to European residents to not let another generation grow up thinking obesity is normal.
The other reason for this shift towards obesity is inactivity. A lack of activity has been listed as the fourth leading cause of deaths worldwide. It is regarded as one the top health threats affecting most developed countries.
Statistics released for Britain indicates that two-thirds of individuals over 15 years of age are not active enough to avoid becoming overweight. The recommendation is that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise in a 7-day period.
Its recommended that children and adolescents should increase this amount to at least one hour per day.
Image credit: Ben Beiske