Mullingar Shamrocks

Founded 1953

Co. Westmeath

WHO Reprt on Obesity

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In the week that our under-age coaching resumes and the club is organising a 5Km fun run (13 March) the following extract from the just-published World Health Organisation (WHO) Report on Ending Childhood Obesity makes interesting and relevant reading.

Recent evidence shows that physical activity declines from the age of school entry. Globally, in 2010, 81% of adolescents aged 11–17 years were insufficiently physically active. Adolescent girls were less active than adolescent boys, with 84% of girls and 78% of boys not attaining the 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily as recommended by WHO. Low physical activity is rapidly becoming the social norm in most countries, and is an important factor in the obesity epidemic. Physical activity can reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers, and improve children’s ability to learn, their mental health and well-being. Recent evidence suggests that obesity, in turn, reduces physical activity, creating a vicious cycle of increasing body fat levels and declining physical activity.

Urban planning and design has the potential to both contribute to the problem and offer the opportunity to form part of the solution. Increased recreational space and safe walking- and cycling-paths for active transport, help make physical activity functions of daily life.

Physical activity behaviours across the life-course can be heavily influenced by childhood experience. Creating safe, physical activity-friendly communities, which enable, and encourage the use of active transport (walking, cycling etc.) and participation in an active lifestyle and physical activities, will benefit all communities. Particular attention needs to be given to improving access to, and participation in, physical activity for children already affected by overweight and obesity, disadvantaged children, girls and children with disabilities.

81 % of adolescents do not achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

All members of society, including parents, need to appreciate the importance of both adequate growth and the consequences of excess body fat deposition to the short-term and long-term health and well-being of the child.

Physical activity provides fundamental health benefits for children and adolescents, including increased cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, reduced body fatness and enhanced bone health.


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