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Report: 1 in 10 Schoolchildren Too Fat

May, 2004

Report: 1 in 10 Schoolchildren Too Fat

Report Indicates One in 10 of the World’s Schoolchildren is Overweight; Almost 45 million obese

One in ten of the world’s schoolchildren is overweight, and about 45 million of them have an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses before they leave their teens, according to the first global assessment of child obesity.

The report, compiled by The International Obesity Task Force, estimates that at least 155 million, or 10 percent, of kids between the ages of 5 and 17 are too heavy, and almost 45 million of them are obese.

The findings were submitted to the World Health Organization on the eve of a critical vote by the world's health ministers next week on the adoption of a global strategy on diet, physical activity and health.

Actions that could be taken include providing more opportunities for exercise and play, limiting television viewing and restricting junk food advertising and marketing to children.

This research follows the recently released Hawke’s Bay study, which found that the proportion of overweight New Zealand children has tripled in just 11 years.

The researchers also compared New Zealand obesity rates with those in six other countries, including Britain and the US, and found New Zealand children were at the heavy end of the global obesity epidemic.

While the answer is simple - eating less and healthier food, and exercising more - putting that into practice is more difficult. On an individual level, addressing obesity requires serious lifestyle changes like exercising for 30 minutes a day, watching less TV and cutting down on fast food and sugary drinks.

Registered Dietitian, Jeni Pearce offers some suggestions to help increase your kids’ intake of calcium and dairy products:

Sprinkle nuts such as almonds and cashews on stirfries and salads Always use milk that’s high in calcium, like new Mega Milk that contains 40% more calcium than Blue Top Add cottage cheese to lasagna Use calcium-enriched milk when making white sauces for vegetables Offer a glass of milk for breakfast as well as using milk on cereal Sprinkle vegetables with grated cheese Make delicious after school smoothies with banana and frozen berries using calcium-enriched milk (these are especially good in summer!) Double the calcium and protein in smoothies by adding yoghurt and extra milk Use high calcium milk to make custard and serve hot or cold with fruit

Milk and milk products are very important sources of calcium. The Food and Nutrition Guidelines for healthy children recommends that children consume at least 2 – 3 servings of milk and milk products each day.

Serve at least three servings each day, preferably, low fat. Serving size examples: 1 glass of milk 1 pottle of yoghurt 2 slices of cheese

A healthy and convenient alternative to sugary drinks is Anchor’s new Mega Milk. Mega Milk 97.5% fat free and has the added advantage of 40% more calcium than Blue Top and vitamins A and D to help build and maintain healthy bones.

Mega Milk is available from supermarkets nationwide in 2 litre bottles, 1 litre tetras and 300ml single serves, perfect for drinking to and from school.


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