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Factors affecting childhood obesity

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Rapid growth in infancy has a direct correlation Rapid growth in infancy has a direct correlation with obesity in childhood and is a predictor of obesity in adulthood

Children born since the 1980s are up to three times more likely than older generations to be overweight or obese by age 10.1 Current evidence shows that obese children usually go on to become obese adults.2 This is not solely a UK issue, but a global one. Despite some small, isolated areas of improvement, no country has yet to halt the obesity epidemic, which has been linked to a wide range of chronic diseases, causing a significant public health issue and a huge economic burden for healthcare systems.3

The NHS spends around £6 billion a year managing diseases caused by obesity. A mere fraction of this is spent on obesity prevention programmes.4

The obesity epidemic is increasingly affecting children in the UK, with one fifth of five-year-olds and one third of 10-year-olds now overweight or obese.5

In England, the prevalence of obesity in children aged 2–10 years is around 13% and the prevalence of overweight including obesity is around 26%. The prevalence of obesity in 11–15-year-olds is around 20% and the prevalence of overweight and obesity is around 35% (Figure 1).6

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