Obesity is a problem that plagues society in general. Adults, the elderly, pregnant women, and even children suffer from this type of problem and in the case of children specifically, the increase in the percentage involving them has been growing at an alarming rate. The World Health Organization (WHO) points childhood obesity as one of the most serious challenges in the midst of the public health problems faced in the 21st century.
It points out that it is a global problem that mostly affects low- and middle-income countries, however, Ireland classified as one of the biggest and best economies today faces this same dilemma. According to recent data from the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI), 15% of five-year-old children were overweight and 5% were obese. More than 9 thousand families were interviewed and the results were surprising.
Girls are more likely to suffer from overweight or obesity problems compared to boys in the same age group (23% versus 18%), even though data show that males tend to be less healthy, suffer some type of chronic disease, and need medical assistance for injuries.
Another point (as already mentioned by WHO) is the monetary issue, that is, the family income. Children who grow up in economically disadvantaged environments have a high risk of not maintaining a balanced diet.
Despite the figures showing a not so favorable situation, about 50% of children who were obese at 3 years old, were healthy at 5 years of age, which indicates that improvement is indeed achievable.
Research by the World Obesity Federation predicts that by 2025, 241,000 school-age children in Ireland will be overweight or obese, where many of these will face problems – typically – faced by adults, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
For the country to overcome a possible wave of obesity, it is necessary that the government, schools, and families continue to work together for the well-being of children. Measures such as reducing the level of sugar in drinks and food must continue to be taken so that problems like this can be remedied.
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