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Parents failing to recognise their children are overweight, survey reveals

The fact that the vast majority of parents do not recognise that their children are overweight is just one of the revelations made in this year’s annual NHS health survey.

Nine in 10 mothers and eight in 10 fathers of an overweight child described them as being about the right weight, dropping to around five in 10 mothers (48%) for obese children, said the Health Survey for England 2015 published by NHS Digital.

The survey showed that obesity for children is stubbornly high despite efforts to improve the trend, with 28% of children either overweight or obese in 2015, only 3% less than last year. Only 22% of children aged five to 15 met the recommended guidelines for moderate physical activity.

Gillian Prior, head of health at the National Centre for Social Research, said: “Around three in 10 children are overweight or obese, yet nearly half of mothers think their obese child is about the right weight. It is possible that consistently high levels of childhood obesity in recent years have normalised an unhealthy weight.

“This should be of concern to parents and public health professionals alike. Obesity is linked to a number of health conditions in later life, such as diabetes and heart disease. Parents want to do the best for their children and the difficulty of recognising obesity in their own child could be putting them at risk.”

Obesity was found to be high among adults too with over 27% of women and women being obese last year and a further 41% of women and 31% of women being overweight.

The average waist circumference of an adult also reached its highest ever figure, with 35% of men and 47% of women having very high waist measurements, defined as greater than 88cm for women and over 102cm for men. This was more common in the middle aged and the elderly.

The Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of over 30 leading charities, royal medical colleges and campaign groups, said: “Obesity is still an urgent public health epidemic costing our national health service billions of pounds every year. Prevalence hasn’t changed much but the majority of adults remain worryingly obese or overweight. As our waistlines continue to increase, so do the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other devastating health conditions.

“We must take bold action now by bringing in measures like the soft drinks industry levy, reducing the sugar, salt and fat from everyday foods and restricting junk food marketing to children. We still have a way to go to truly tackle this deadly and economically draining obesity issue. However, these proposed measures will be a major step towards creating a healthier environment.”

Despite the difficulty in tackling obesity, there were more optimistic figures in the survey as it highlights positive trends in reducing smoking and alcohol consumption.

The prevalence of adult cigarette smoking has fallen steadily in the last two decades from 28% in 1998 to 18% in 2015. Fewer non-smokers also reported being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Helen Donovan, professional lead for public health nursing for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) welcomed the figures but said that they highlight the “profound challenges” facing public health in the context of growing budget pressures.

“It is of deep concern to us that public health budgets are under threat around the country, just when we can see the difference that expert services can make,” Donovan said. “At the same time, threats to health visitor posts can mean that families are not helped onto the right track from the start.

“Progress can be reversed quickly if help is not available – it would be a tragedy to see the health of the nation decline due to a short term lack of funding.”

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Sara   16/12/2016 at 06:36

I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2016. I started the ADA diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn't right and began to do a lot of research. On August 13th I found a blog I read that article from end to end that night because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next morning my blood sugar was down to 100, the next day was in the 90's and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70's and the 80's. My doctor took me off the metformin after just one week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 30 pounds in a month. I now work out twice a day and still have tons of energy. I have lost 6+ inches around my waist and I am off my high blood pressure medication too. I have about 20 more pounds to go till my body finds its ideal weight. The great news is, this is a lifestyle I can live with, it makes sense and it works. God Bless the writer. I wish the ADA would stop enabling consumers and tell them the truth. You can get off the drugs, you can help yourself, but you have to have a correct lifestyle and diet. No more processed foods. ..

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