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One in four young people seeking to lose weight

Tuesday July 19th 2022

Children and teenagers are far more conscious of their weight than 20 years ago – with growing numbers seeking to shed weight, researchers report today.

Oxford University researchers said their findings had a mixed message – as there is evidence that children of healthy weight are among those seeking to slim down.

The study found a five percentage point increase in the proportion of children attempting weight loss between 1998 and 2016 – with 26.5% reporting trying to slim down by the middle of the last decade.

Researchers said the increase also indicated a response to government campaigning after child obesity was first made a priority in England in 2004.

The findings come from an analysis of Health Survey data of more than 34,000 children aged between 8 and 17, reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researcher Dr Aryati Ahmad said: “Overall, we saw that the number of children reporting weight loss attempts is growing at a faster rate than the rise in excess weight.

“Alarmingly, the data also showed that an increasing proportion of children with a ‘healthy’ weight also reported trying to lose weight. This raises concerns and suggests greater attention is needed to target weight control messages appropriately.”

Fellow researcher Dr Carmen Piernas said: “We found that children were more likely to attempt to lose weight if they were overweight or obese, female, from an ethnic minority group or living in a low-income household. However, weight loss attempts increased across all BMI categories, and especially among boys, older children, children of Asian ethnicity, and those from lower income families.”

Trends in weight loss attempts among children in England. Archives of Disease in Childhood 19 July 2022

[abstract]

Tags: Child Health | Diet & Food | Fitness | UK News

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