Does London have the fattest kids in Britain?

The Evening Standard reports on the findings of the the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) which says that London has the fattest 10 and 11-year-olds in the country. Over 36 per cent of children in that age group are overweight or obese and 23 per cent of four and five-year-olds are also too heavy.

The dangers of childhood obesity are well known so this is bad news both in absolute terms and relative to the rest of the country.

How have we got here?

No one can claim to have the definitive, scientifically based answer to this but I suspect that there are a number of contributory factors. The cost of living in London means that parents often have to work long hours and schools have not prioritised sport and physical activity as highly as they once did. I’m going to sound like an old grump, but computer/video games have taken over as the primary youth leisure activity for a huge proportion of children.

My supposition is backed up by the report’s authors, Liz Cavan (from the CSP) said the children were getting fatter because of “the growth of sedentary leisure activities, the car culture, time and financial constraints on busy working parents and our increasing fears about letting young children run around outdoors without adult supervision.”

I found the last part of that quote quite worrying, I fear that in our desire to protect our children from the statistically small risk of predatory paedophiles we are exposing them to a very large risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

4 responses to “Does London have the fattest kids in Britain?

  1. I wouldn't say the risk of predatory paedophiles is “statistically small” – I would go further to saying it is statistically so vanishingly tiny that anyone doing anything more than teaching their kids not to take sweets from strangers needs their head examined.

    We seem to have lost the ability to judge risk in our society and the tiny events are given a magnitude they do not deserve, while commonplace risks are ignored.

    If only people were as careful in crossing the road as they are about avoiding “strange men” – the hundreds of related road deaths each year would collapse to nothing.

    Of course, if kids didn't sit at home in the evenings playing computer games – we'd have long editorials in the tabloids bemoaning the gangs of kids loitering on street corners and terrifying little old ladies.

    You can't win!

  2. I wouldn't say the risk of predatory paedophiles is “statistically small” – I would go further to saying it is statistically so vanishingly tiny that anyone doing anything more than teaching their kids not to take sweets from strangers needs their head examined.

    We seem to have lost the ability to judge risk in our society and the tiny events are given a magnitude they do not deserve, while commonplace risks are ignored.

    If only people were as careful in crossing the road as they are about avoiding “strange men” – the hundreds of related road deaths each year would collapse to nothing.

    Of course, if kids didn't sit at home in the evenings playing computer games – we'd have long editorials in the tabloids bemoaning the gangs of kids loitering on street corners and terrifying little old ladies.

    You can't win!

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