Updated: Tuesday, 7th July 2020 @ 8:18am

Eating your veggies just wont cut it as Manchester University study reveals failure to curb child obesity

Eating your veggies just wont cut it as Manchester University study reveals failure to curb child obesity

By Tim Hyde

‘Eat your veggies’ and 'five a day' just might not be enough anymore.

Simply getting children to eat more fruit and vegetables is failing to curb a nationwide obesity epidemic, according to University of Manchester researchers.

Figures show that in the UK a whopping 31% of boys and 28% of girls aged 2-15 are either overweight or obese.

In a new study Manchester scientists have reviewed how getting children to incorporate healthy initiatives like eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day would reduce their weight.

The study revealed that single dietary interventions do not reduce the amount of obese children in the UK.

Dr Arpana Verma, Director of MUCH at The University of Manchester, said: “The rising prevalence of overweight and obese children is the result of multiple factors, such as increased consumption of energy dense foods and a decrease in physical activity participation.

“Targeting children, particularly overweight children, with nutritional education is important as it helps children form healthier long-term eating habits.”

The team from Manchester Urban Collaboration of Health (MUCH), based at the University, say that broader public health strategies are needed instead as obesity figures continue to rise.

Dr Paula Whittaker, Clinical Lecturer in Public Health at The University of Manchester, said: “We conducted a systematic review of literature of interventions to increase fruit and/or vegetable consumption in overweight or obese children.

“We found narrow interventions focusing on single aspects of behaviour are unlikely to achieve long-term change.”

The study has found that current health interventions are failing to even slightly reduce the number of obese children.

Significantly overweight children are more likely to turn into obese adults which will leave them at risk of various health complications.

And, on average, obesity reduces life expectancy between six and seven years.

Dr Verma added: “Changes in eating habits such as increased consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and high-fat foods accompanied by a decreased consumption of fruit and vegetables are associated with an increasing number of overweight children.”

Image courtesy of Martin Cathrae, with thanks

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