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Obese children likely to die up to 20 years earlier than healthy peers, report warns

England is behind Wales and Scotland when it comes to child health

Rachel Hosie
Tuesday 23 January 2018 13:50 GMT

Four in five obese school children are likely to be dangerously overweight for life, according to a new report.

This could result in them losing 10-20 years of their life.

A report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) claims that child health is suffering at the hands of a disjointed approach from central Government.

It calls for an end to the advertising of unhealthy foods on television before the watershed.

The RCPCH is most concerned about the “deepening public health cuts which have worsened in the last year and are disproportionately affecting children’s services,” and they point out that public health spending is over five per cent lower in 2017/18 than it was in 2013/14.

Professor Neena Modi, President of the RCPCH, said: “The science exists for all to see; invest in the health of children and make a huge difference to their health in later life and hence to their economic productivity.

“For example, four-fifths of obese children will remain obese as adults and this will result in them losing between 10-20 years of healthy life. That’s a very frightening statistic and something that Government must get to grips with.

“It’s no wonder the NHS is burgeoning under the weight of ill health. This is time for a long vision for the sake of the nation’s wellbeing and prosperity yet the focus remains short-term and ineffective.”

However the report states that England is lagging behind Scotland and Wales when it comes to child health.

Professor Russell Viner, RCPCH Officer for Health Promotion, said: “Child health isn’t being given the political attention it deserves in Westminster, which is disappointing given the real commitments from the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

“While policies such as the soft drinks industry levy and new tobacco control plan are to be applauded, the approach is piecemeal.

“Getting it right in childhood means setting up future generation for a lifetime of better health. Investing in children is an investment in the entire population.”

The RCPCH is now calling for each national government to commit to a “child health in all policies” approach, meaning that whenever legislation is passed, the impact on child health must be considered.

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