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The Class Divide | Poorer Kids Are More Obese

The rise of cheap junk food and lack of exercise has been blamed for the increase in obesity levels of kids from poorer families.

Experts from University College London and Loughborough University looked at how both the height and weight of children and teenagers have changed over the past 70 years.

They say the average child consumes 3,000 calories each day through salty snacks, convenience foods, crisps and chocolate... a staggering increase on the 1,800 calories kids took in 70 years ago.

They found that poorer children, although taller than back in the day, thanks to the increased availability of more affordable food, the abundance of unhealthier food options, and more sedentary lifestyles have led to an increase in waistlines.

A third of children in the UK are overweight or obese, with no signs of the obesity battle subsiding.

Though the study showed that the difference in children's BMI levels between poorer and more wealthy children has also expanded.

Kids from poorer families tend to be shorter and with a higher BMI than little ones from more affluent families. Funnily enough, a complete reversal from 70 years ago when poorer kids were usually lighter due to smaller portions and less nutritious diets.

The average disadvantaged 11-year-old now weighs 2.1kg (4.6lbs) more than their better-off buddy.


Convenience Crisis

Poorer kids are said to eat more convenience foods - cheaper to buy than organic, high-quality options. The abundance of quick, easy meals offering little on the health front is leading to an increase in BMI.

Screen Time Kids whose parents can't afford extracurricular activities such as sports clubs, dance or family pets to exercise, tend to retreat indoors and spend far more time in front of a screen than out in the fresh air. Exercise Takes A Back Seat Exercise is being stripped out of today's kid's lifestyles, with British children among the least active in the world, experts have warned. In a recent study, parents were asked about the lack of physical activity and many said they were often reluctant to let their children play outside. However, if exercise isn’t considered a priority for parents, it certainly won’t instil any passion in children. WHAT CAN WE DO? More and more parents are opting for the services of professional Kids Fitness Instructors to help educate children on the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle. As a role model that isn’t their parent, teacher or another dominant figure, as a Kids Fitness Instructor, you’ll play a key part in shaping the choices children make for a healthy future. It’s not simply about getting them outdoors for a runaround. It’s about showing them the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and introducing exercise in an uber-cool way! If you think you’d make a great Kids Fitness Instructor, take a look at the details online, or speak to the team to request a course prospectus. Let’s get the kids moving!

*Published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

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