CHILDREN are being encouraged to get active this summer in a bid to drive down soaring obesity rates.
In the Rother district almost a fifth (19 percent) of four to five year olds and one in three (33 percent) 10 to 11 year olds are overweight or obese and only 60 percent take part in three hours or more of exercise each week.
With the associated health risks and the prediction that, if current trends continue, a quarter of children will be obese by 2050, East Sussex County Council is calling on young people to take action and get active.
Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex County Council’s director of public health, said: “Obesity can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
“We want to make sure that local children have the best possible start in life, and getting the right amount of exercise is a significant contributor to this.”
County council leader Cllr Keith Glazier added: “These are worrying figures that need to be addressed.
“Not only are there serious health issues associated with obesity but it could be costing the East Sussex economy as much as £70million a year.
“We want to buck the trend by encouraging as many children as possible to get involved in some of the activities available in East Sussex and start leading more active lives.”
Obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions.
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes and 10 per cent of all cancer deaths among non-smokers are related to obesity.
Social stigmatisation and bullying are also common to children who are overweight and obese and can, in some cases, lead to depression and other issues.
Cllr Glazier said: “Taking part in regular exercise is an important part of a child’s development and we would urge any parent or carer to encourage their children to get active.”
To find out about events and groups which can help you to lead a healthy lifestyle visit www.eastsussex1space.co.uk or www.activerother.org.uk.
For more information about the benefits of healthy eating and exercise visit www.nhs.uk/change4life