Vicky’s Blog: Almost 10% of four to five-year-olds are obese – and we must act now.

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen writes about some new figures from the National Child Measurement Programme which shows a worrying percentage of young children are obese.

It really is a startling fact.

Latest statistics from the National Child Measurement Programme show that almost 10% of four to five-year-olds in England are obese.

As the owner of a business that tries to encourage children of that age to be active and healthy, it’s a fact that really hit home.
Clearly, as a country, we need to be doing more.

Not just because the benefits of being active will help kids avoid becoming part of that 10% right now. But also because it can help them avoid some really serious issues in later life.

The pull of computer games can add to childhood obesity levels

Childhood obesity

Reacting to those figures, a well-respected doctor, who is battling to reduce childhood obesity, is warning that children in England are already developing life-threatening illnesses because the issue is not being tackled properly by the Government.

Dr William Bird MBE has been a GP in Reading for the last 25 years.

“Something is going badly wrong. Childhood obesity didn’t exist 100 years ago. It’s a man-made creation,” he told Sky News.

“What we are seeing is in the fat cells in the body, particularly in the tummy, they create inflammation which attacks the brain and arteries and that leads to diabetes, dementia even, depression and anxiety and cardiovascular diseases.”

None of us want those conditions to emerge in just one child, let alone what must be a staggering number of children who are classed as obese under these findings.

While Dr Bird criticises the Government for not doing more, it is down to parents to up their game too. Governing parties can put any number of schemes and ideas forward as ways to keep our youngsters active – but parents are the ones who make the decisions as to what activities will be done as a family.

Fun element

I honestly believe there has to be a fun element in every activity we get our children to do, especially in the four to five-year-old age group we are talking about in this study.

If exercise is boring, they just won’t want to do it again. I can vouch for that because of my two young boys.

Hopefully by encouraging and implementing activity from a young age, our children will get used to having fun while being active.

And we can start to see a reduction in the numbers of obese children which, incidentally, doubles by the time they reach 10 to 11-year-olds in this study.