Childhood Obesity: Issues and Insights

Elspeth Bradley
Research & Planning, Kellogg's

Marie Laver
HPI Research Group

INTRODUCTION

The Issue of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a hot topic which shows no signs of abating. Media messages regarding the ever increasing weight gain of children today and their poor state of nutrition are becoming ever more prevalent – epitomised by the recent TV programme, 'Jamie's School Dinners' documenting his battle against the Turkey Twizzler. The World Health Organisation (WHO) last year described the problem as a ”global epidemic” 1 and certainly their published statistics are disturbing. Over 22 million children under 5 years of age can be described as 'severely overweight' and amongst children of a school age this figure rises to 155 million (2). In the European Union there are 14 million overweight school-age children, of whom 3 million are obese (3). There are approximately one million obese children In the UK who are less than 16 years of age (4).