Child Obesity

Child Obesity In Australia - Alarming Statistics

Obesity in children in Australia is increasing at an alarming rate.

Just like child obesity in America and child obesity worldwide, child obesity in Australia has increased greatly in the past few years.

Some statistics about child obesity in Australia

According to the Australian government:

An estimated 1.5 million people under the age 18 are considered overweight or obese.

This means about 20-25% of Australian children are overweight or obese.

The proportion of overweight or obese children in Australian is increasing at an accelerating rate. This pattern, showing up since the 1980’s, is similar internationally.

Children are getting less aerobic exercise.

The amount of aerobic fitness is decreasing about .4% a year.

Between 1985 and 1997 obesity levels in the population doubled.

While obesity increased 2-4 times, being overweight increased 60-70%. This shows signs not just of increasing, but accelerating.

If weight gain continues the path it is following, by the year 2020, 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese.

A study in Queensland showed that up to 30% of Australian children have low fitness levels while 60% have poor motor skills.

There is an indication that walking and cycling are used less for transportation for Australian children. Studies also seem to show that those among the least fit of Australian children are the group deteriorating the fastest over time.

In Australian schools, physical education is being reduced even with no dispute about how important physical education is.

50% of obese adolescents continue to be obese as adults.

Studies show that relative body weight is most often carried from childhood to adulthood. Once a child or adolescent is obese or overweight, they are not likely to reduce it as an adult.

Obesity in a child or adult is defined as a condition where excess fat has accumulated to the point that it can impair health.

A primary cause of obesity is an energy imbalance.

An intake of high energy foods, combined with a low level of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle is a cause of this energy imbalance.

One study estimates that for every 1% increase in the proportion of physically active people, nearly 122 lives can be saved that would have been lost to coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. All of these diseases have links to obesity.

It is estimated that in 1995-1996 the cost of obesity in Australia was between $680-$1239 million.

Obesity as a child is linked to an increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in an adult regardless of the adult weight. Being overweight as a child brings and an increase for heart related diseases like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

Child obesity is also related to many medical conditions like respiratory disorders, orthopedic problems, release of growth hormone, arthritis, and gastric problems.

A study estimated that less than 70% of girls that were year 8 and year 10 students remained adequately active over winter in 1997.

Basically, what you can see from statistics like these is that being overweight or obesity in a child is increasing.

A primary cause can be an increasing lack of exercise compared to an intake of high energy foods. It must also be noted that once a child is obese or overweight,  it can be difficult to lose that weight during a lifetime. Obesity in a child may also lead to an increase in obesity related diseases.

Also in the report on child obesity in Australia, were statistics showing that there in an increase in homes with both parents at work. Also noted was an increase between 1986 and 1999 where a sole parent was working.

A lot must be done to reverse child obesity in Australia and child obesity worldwide.

An emphasis must be made on the need for exercise and eating the right foods. Also, we need to understand not just how a child becomes obese, but the why they become obese may be just as important. If nothing is done, the possible 2020 statistic of 80% obese or overweight Australian adults may become true from today’s child obesity in Australia.

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