You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Obesity on the rise among European kids

dpa logodpa 17/05/2017

Lack of physical activity as well as poor eating habits are being blamed for a rise in child obesity in many parts of Europe.

Obesity among children and youth is still on the rise in many parts of Europe, with one one in three adolescents estimated to be overweight or obese, according to a new survey.

Lack of physical activity as well as poor eating habits were - along with economic factors - blamed for the increase, according to the report released by the Copenhagen-based European office of the World Health Organization on Wednesday.

In 16 of 27 countries surveyed between 2002 and 2014, the prevalence of obesity has risen, notably in Eastern Europe, according to the study.

Exceptions were among 13-year-old boys in Norway and 11-year-old girls in Spain.

Health issues linked to obesity include an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Lack of physical exercise and a "sedentary lifestyle" - primarily sitting and watching TV or gaming, surfing the internet or doing other work on a computer - together accounted for the second-most common pursuit among adolescents, accounting for 60 per cent of their waking time, the report said.

Another finding was that young people across Europe often "consume high levels of fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages and spend less time eating family meals" in comparison to previous generations.

"Most young people will not outgrow obesity: about four in every five adolescents who become obese will continue to have weight problems as adults," said Joao Breda, head of the WHO Regional Office's program on nutrition, physical activity and obesity.

Encouraging healthier diets - including more fruit and vegetables - and more physical activity as well as targeting high-risk groups in local communities were among the recommendations.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon