By Mellissa Dzinzi
FITNESS AND nutrition experts say education about exercise and diet are the key to combating the international obesity crisis.
It follows announcements by the NHS this week that obesity among children starting their first year of primary school has risen for the second year in a row, and that oversized chocolate bars will be banned in hospitals.
The Government has said that tackling obesity is a priority. Health campaigners say the soft drinks levy and the sugar reduction programme are both positive steps.
Farai Nyamunda, a PE teacher at City Academy, Birmingham, said it was too simplistic to blame fast food companies and more needed to be done in schools to promote health and exercise.
Mr Nyamunda, 25, said: “Kids enjoy PE. They just get taught less of it now because there isn’t enough time in the curriculum. Three years ago kids would get four hours a fortnight of PE but now it has gone down to 55 minutes a week.
“Kids from deprived backgrounds don’t have parents who can support their lifestyle with financial backing. Some parents don’t take or encourage their kids to join after school clubs or anything to do with sports outside of the school.”
According to Gov UK, over 63 per cent of adults in England alone are overweight or obese. And 20 per cent of children in their last year of primary school are obese.
Personal trainer Tammy Barker, 30, said: “The older generation is where the problem is, they need to learn about nutrition and how to make little changes in their diet for a better results long term.
“We cannot just blame the schools, the government has a lot to answer for. It’s cheaper to eat five takeaways a week than it is to pay for a monthly gym membership of £18.99.”
People who live in deprived and low income households are more affected by long term health problems such as obesity and diabetes.
Ms Barker added: “There’s not much point in cutting foods, kids should be encouraged to play outside more not just cutting and banning foods. Small lifestyles changes will make a bigger impact. It will also help improve social skills.”
In the race to tackle obesity, Jamie Oliver’s restaurants have introduced a 10p tax on fizzy drinks which has seen a drop in sales since it was introduced.
Soraya Overend, project manager, said: “Cooking is not passed down anymore it’s generational. Jamie’s Ministry of Food is open to the community for an eight-week programme in Bradford and other cities around Yorkshire.
“The programme aims to teach people basic cooking skills, budgeting and how to create or maintain a healthier lifestyle.”