Quarter of Northern Ireland children obese or overweight

Cancer Research UK said 'bold action' was needed to encourage healthier eating
Cancer Research UK said 'bold action' was needed to encourage healthier eating
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More than a quarter of children in Northern Ireland are overweight or obese, a new survey carried out for the Department of Health has shown.

The annual Northern Ireland Health Survey also showed that nearly two-thirds (62%) of adults are classed as either overweight or obese.

The charity Cancer Research UK said the figures showed the need for “bold action” from authorities to encourage more families to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

Margaret Carr, Cancer Research UK’s public affairs manager in Northern Ireland, said: “Overweight and obesity is devastating families – excess weight is responsible for around 570 cases of cancer each year in Northern Ireland.”

She continued: “This report is a stark reflection of why we need bold action from Northern Ireland’s Executive to help make it easier for people to eat a healthy diet.

“On TV, we’re constantly bombarded with adverts to persuade us to buy foods that are high in sugar and fat. When we go to the supermarket, junk food multibuy offers encourage us to stock up.

“Action is needed to introduce a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts. Introducing restrictions on junk food price promotions in supermarkets would boost our chances of going home with a healthy shop, ultimately helping to protect future generations in Northern Ireland.”

The survey has run every year since 2010/11.

The most recent set of results, published by the Department of Health on Wednesday, cover the 2018/19 financial year.

It also included questions relating to general health, mental health and wellbeing, antibiotics, obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol, and sexual health.

Almost three-quarters of the 3,593 respondents (72%) said they were in good or very good health. Two-fifths of respondents reported having a longstanding physical or mental health condition.