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Children’s fitness more crucial than weight
6:00am Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Local News
OBSESSING about a child’s weight could be masking a much bigger problem, according to Essex University experts.
Research conducted by the university shows, while 11 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds are obese, one in five has a low level of fitness.
At the moment, children are only measured by their body mass index at the ages of five and ten to monitor their weight. But Dr Gavin Sandercock, who led the research on 8,000 East of England school children, said: “The reliance on just BMI as a health indicator is inadequate.
“Many children can be fit and healthy, but still have a high BMI, just as we found many can be unfit despite being thin.”
Dr Sandercock’s study also found levels of obesity fall from 13 per cent of ten-year-olds to 8 per cent of 15-year-olds, while the levels of poor fitness increase from 15 per cent in ten-year-olds to more than 40 per cent in 15-year-olds.
He added: “The huge variation in both measures suggests average figures may be misleading.
“In terms of health monitoring, the most worrying aspect of our findings was that there was almost no relationship between how many obese children and how many unfit children there were at each school.”
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