Unhealthy lifestyles will see British children die before their parents

Research from British Heart Foundation warns of health problems affecting a generation, from lack of exercise to dietary issues

The unhealthy lifestyles of today’s children could see them die younger than their parents because of heart disease, diabetes and other medical conditions, a new study has shown.

In a “wake-up call” to parents, schools and the Government, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has worked with the University of Oxford to publish its first ever supplement dedicated solely to coronary heart disease statistics and causes among children and young people.

The study has found that with around 30 per cent of that group being overweight or obese, less than one in five children in the UK eating their five a day, and a minority doing recommended levels of daily exercise, the 50-year trend of reducing cardiovascular disease is set to be reversed.

BHF chief executive Simon Gillespie said: “These figures are a warning that many of our children are in grave danger of developing coronary heart disease in the future if they continue to live the same lifestyle.”

And medical director Professor Peter Weissberg wrote in a foreword to the study: “Over the past fifty years there has been a substantial and unprecedented reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease in the UK. This trend could reverse if we fail to tackle the rising tide of obesity in our young people today.

The research identified a variety of bad habits which, picked up in childhood, represented a real danger going on into adult life. These including skipping breakfast, with half of 13-year-old boys and a third of girls avoiding the meal on a regular basis.

Figures also showed that half of all children have chocolates, sweets, and soft drinks every day.

“It’s pretty bleak and totally unacceptable,” Mr Gillespie told The Times.

He said: “We’ve got a generation growing up which will buck that trend and potentially they will be the generation that lives less long than the generation above them. It really is as stark as that. If that isn’t a wake-up call, then what is?”

And Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, told the newspaper: “This isn’t wishy-washy open-toed sandals stuff. If we really want to compete with India and China we need fit, healthy adults.

“We’ve got used to the idea that our children aren’t going to be as well off as us, but we haven’t got used to the idea that they won’t be as healthy,” he said.

The BHF said it was expanding its “Hearty Lives” scheme to combat the problem, committing £1.2 million in order to set up seven new community projects.

Mr Gillespie said: “The projects, run in partnership with local authorities, the NHS and non-profit organisations, will use a range of interventions to help.

”These include employing a dietitian to work with children struggling with obesity in Manchester and running weight management programmes for teenagers in Scotland.

“Through our new Hearty Lives projects we are committed to working with local communities to give young people most at risk of heart disease a healthier start in life.”

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: Customer Service Executive

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

    Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?