Drinking just one drink a day can raise the risk of a child developing obesity by 14%, researchers found – with almost 40% of children aged classed as overweight or obese
Fizzy drinks are said to be undeniably linked to a silent killer plaguing British children.
The drinks are driving up childhood obesity rates in the UK and around the world, a study shows. Drinking just one drink a day can raise the risk of a child developing obesity by 14%, researchers found.
It comes as nearly four out of 10 British kids are classed as overweight or obese by the time they leave school. Numbers were higher in children aged 10 to 11, with nearly a quarter obese and 14.3 per cent overweight in the same year.
Separate data for 2021/22 showed 34 toddlers aged under four were taken to hospital because of a primary diagnosis of obesity. Experts from the Japanese National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health say reducing fizzy drinks is “crucial” to tackle the problem.
Dr Huan Hu said: “Reducing soft drink consumption is crucial for combating adolescent obesity. Urgent actions should be employed to curb the consumption of sugary drinks.”
Professor Jason Halford, president of the European Association for the Study of Obesity and head of psychology at Leeds University, warned pandemic habits have had a lasting effect, reports The Sun.
He said: “Children’s activity levels were a significant problem before the pandemic but with kids being hunkered down, they’ve got out of the habit of playing together.
“They’re going to interact more online now. So we know the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on childhood obesity rates.”
A secondary diagnosis for obesity is when dangerously high weight is a contributing factor.
Admissions fell to 6,261 in 2020/21 in under-16s but have surged back up to 8,771 in 2021/22. Childhood complications from obesity include breathing, bones and joints and liver problems.
Professor Graham MacGregor, of Queen Mary University of London, said: “When it comes to tackling childhood obesity our current Government has wasted time and cost lives.
“Only one action, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, has been successful. This one simple and practical approach would benefit the worst off in our society and save the NHS billions of pounds each year.”