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Poor children face higher risk of obesity

dpa logodpa 9/02/2017

Social disadvantage leaves children at a higher risk of being overweight a new study of EU countries finds.

Children from socially disadvantaged families are at higher risk of being overweight, according to a study of thousands of children in eight EU countries.

The EU-funded study, released on Thursday, found obesity levels varied widely among the 16,000 children surveyed in eight European countries, with about 40 per cent being overweight or obese in southern Italy compared to about 10 per cent in Belgium.

The study, which was a collaboration among 17 European institutions, found that children from disadvantaged backgrounds were especially likely to be overweight, said Wolfgang Ahrens, a researcher from the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology.

"It's vital that extra efforts are made to target those worst off with bold policies designed to offer them the support they need," Ahrens said.

The report noted that another key area in which regulation would be necessary was child-oriented advertising of unhealthy foods.

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