Concerns for South Holland children's obesity rate
A nurse says it is time to admit we have a problem with our ‘terrible’ record over childhood obesity - calling for a change in lifestyle.
Glynis Scalese, a South Holland district councillor, says a change of lifestyle is needed to reverse worrying statistics.
The Lincolnshire Health and Wellbeing Board recently pointed to figures showing that, in South Holland, 26.4% of reception children (aged four or five) are overweight or obese.
By the last year of primary school (aged 10 and 11), 38.4% of our district’s children are overweight or obese - and 24.9% are either obese or severely obese.
The board anticipates that these figures - well above the national average - will have got even worse due to the Covid lockdowns and the cost of living crisis.
Coun Scalese said: “We have got to look at children having plenty of excercise and having the right diet, doing the right things and cutting out sugar, cakes and fizzy drinks.
“Unfortunately that’s down to the parents. I hate to put them blame on but when my son was small I was particular in what I gave him.”
She said admitting there’s a problem is the first stage, adding: “It needs a change of lifestyle and mindset. If people want help, there’s help out there.
“If we don’t do anything we are going to be even worse than we are now.
“It’s the net generation that’s going to suffer and then they are going to educate their families.”
She said education is key to help families to understand how they can make healthy meals cheaply and use more fruit and vegetables.
Coun Scalese added: “A lot of people don’t want to eat that stuff - they prefer starchy stuff like cakes and bread. Some of the food is convenient for mums that work and I can understand that.”
Dean Odell, of Healthwatch Lincolnshire, said: “Excess weight in children as well as adults can lead to a number of health problems such as increasing their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer as well as affecting a person’s mental health and self-esteem. The pandemic will certainly have had some knock on effects on peoples’ eating and exercising habits, and research has shown that people living in the most deprived areas of the country are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital for an obesity-related condition as those in the least deprived areas, which would suggest that the increase in the cost of living could be making the obesity crisis worse.
“Obesity is complex and is not the result of a single issue, education, income and where people live can all have contributing factors.
“National bans on advertising of food high in fat, sugar or salt on television only go so far, more could be done to promote healthy eating on a budget and encourage more outdoor exercise and activity as we go through the summer months. This is an area that requires further investment to provide weight management services for both children and adults as the consequences of this issue will be far more costly for the NHS in the future.”