Children likely to live shorter lives than their parents

The life expectancy of some of today's children will be years shorter than their parents' if current trends of poor diet and lack of exercise continue, Yvette Cooper, the Public Health minister, will warn today.

The life expectancy of some of today's children will be years shorter than their parents' if current trends of poor diet and lack of exercise continue, Yvette Cooper, the Public Health minister, will warn today.

Ms Cooper, who is speaking at the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association Conference in Harrogate, will outline the Government's increasing concerns about the poor state of children's health and diet. "The health problems that children have in their early years can haunt them for the rest of their lives,"she will say.

"Despite all the improvements such as new vaccinations, growing prosperity and the general improvement in health some health problems in children are getting worse."

Obesity in children has tripled since 1980, because of lack of exercise and high-fat diets, and asthma has more than doubled in the past 10 years, with one in seven children now having respiratory problems. Doctors are also seeing an increase in the incidents of rickets, caused by a lack of vitamin D, and insufficient vitamin levels in children's diets is leading to poor health and development.

Government statistics show that life expectancy for people in Britain has increased steadily over the past 40 years and now stands at 74 years for men and 79 for women. But Ms Cooper says: "There is now a risk that the increase in life expectancy that we have seen in recent years could be lost for the next generation.

"It is a long-term issue for some groups in society. There is already a difference of about five years in life expectancy between the high and low-income groups.

"Life expectancy depends on diet, family background and lifestyle but we will see the repercussions of the increasing problems in child health in 40 or 50 years' time unless trends are reversed."

Low consumption of fruit and vegetables has been linked to asthma, and the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, published last month, showed that one child in five eats no fruit in a week. On average, a child consumes the equivalent of 30 sugar lumps a day.

The Government is looking at ways to improve children's diets and Ms Cooper will announce a scheme to give every child aged four to six a piece of fresh fruit in school every day, starting next month.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £40,000

    £28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Contracts / Sales Administrator

    £19500 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Knowledge of and ability to use...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Engineer - Powered Access

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They pride themselves that they...

    Recruitment Genius: Pharmacy Branch Manager

    £19000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This pharmacy group are looking...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence