01Mar16f One in 9 or 3 can play outside the house

There is a link with the subject 'Over-protection of children': "A study of children under 12 found that only 1 in 9 girls is allowed out during the day, compared with 1 in 3 boys." 

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7th February 2001

British toddlers are becoming fatter

More children under 4 years of age are overweight and obese than ever before, according to a study in this week's British Medical Journal.

The study analysed height and weight measurements of 35,662 infants aged 1-3 months and 28,768 children aged between 2 years 11 months and 4 years, routinely taken by health visitors. They found that from 1989 to 1998 there was a highly significant increasing trend in the proportion of overweight and obese children under 4 years of age. Researchers blame lack of exercise and the consumption of junk food and sugary drinks.

The research compliments an earlier study published by King's College London, which looked at children between four and eleven over a twenty year period, and found that the number of children classed as overweight had gone up by 50 per cent, while the number of boys in the same category had doubled.

Girls in particular are storing up health problems for the future because they are not allowed to get enough exercise when they are young, says Neil Armstrong of the Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre at the University of Exeter. He says that by the age of 5 or 6, girls already exercise less than boys.

A study of children under 12 found that only 1 in 9 girls is allowed out during the day, compared with 1 in 3 boys. In addition, schools are cutting back on sports, and on the length of break and lunch periods - often the only time that girls will take significant exercise while at school.


The mystery as to why Americans have become the fattest people on the planet has been uncovered recently by public health experts.

Researchers for the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, say that decades of uncontrolled suburban sprawl conceived around the motor car have left them unable to walk anywhere - even if they wish to.


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