Obesity rates in Canadian children double - study
Children in the Canadian province of Ontario may be the first generation to die younger than their parents, doctors said on Tuesday.
A report released by the Ontario Medical Association found obesity rates in children across Canada nearly doubled between 1981 and 1996. The percentage of overweight boys between 2 and 16 increased to 29 percent from 15 percent, while overweight girls in the same age group rose to 24 percent from 15 percent.
Dr. Greg Flynn, president of the medical association, said 70 percent of obese children will go on to be obese adults, and therefore be at greater risk of life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes as well as breathing problems and arthritis.
Lack of physical activity, bad food choices and overeating are the main culprits, Flynn said.
“When it comes to kids, it’s too much screen time, too much time in front of the television, too much time in front of video games and the computer, and they need to be out playing and having more regular physical activity,” he said.
The doctors asked the government of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, to take immediate action on what they called a children’s “obesity epidemic”. They urged mandating one hour per day of structured aerobic physical activity for elementary and secondary school students as well as restrictions on access to junk foods in schools.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said on Sunday that his government plans to make 20 minutes of physical activity a day mandatory for elementary students.
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