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CSP responds to child obesity announcement

CSP press release published on 22 February 2008

Responding to today’s announcement that nearly one in four five-year olds and one in three 11-year olds is overweight or obese, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) said:

The increase in childhood obesity in the UK has been worryingly rapid. Today’s figures must be recognised as significant for the health of individuals and society. The government, education system and food industry cannot ignore the problem of obesity in children and must act to halt the trend now.

Emphasis needs to be placed on participation in everyday physical activity, not just ‘exercise’, which for children includes such things as outdoor play.

The long-term consequences of obesity include damage to joints, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Physiotherapists are essential in providing advice for children, their families and teachers on healthy lifestyles and ensuring that adequate levels of activity are achieved in order to combat the obesity problem.

Community support around the UK for children from lower socioeconomic classes, providing access to physical activity and sports equipment, would increase uptake in children who are traditionally identified as less able to engage with such pursuits.

Today’s announcement shows how important it is that the government’s pledged investment in healthy schools, increasing participation in physical activity and making cooking a compulsory part of the curriculum, comes to fruition and is implemented as soon as possible.

The CSP would also encourage 100 per cent of children to participate in the National Child Measurement Programme so that the full scale of the problem can be assessed and tackled appropriately.

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