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New research indicates obesity rates amongst poorest teenagers is double that of those that are better off

A new study has shown that more than one quarter of teenagers from the poorest backgrounds are now overweight or obese.

The research, by the Centre for Longditudinal Studies at University College London shows that obesity rates amongst the poorest households are twice as high as those from richer backgrounds with 28% of poorer teenagers are now classed as obese.

The research looked at 10,000 teenagers who have been participating in the Millennium Cohort Study. Obesity rates are shown as being strongly linked to household income with those from the worst off backgrounds most greatly affected.

Co author of the report, Professor Emla Fitzsimons said: “It’s a major concern that so many young people are an unhealthy weight and are starting off adult life facing an increased risk of greater long-term physical and psychological health problems. Levels of obesity among this generation are alarming.”

Another co author, Dr David Bann, added “Councils, which are responsible for public health, can help the government meet its target of halving childhood obesity by 2030 with significant additional investment in public health and leisure services, alongside greater powers to tackle clustering of existing takeaways and to restrict junk food advertising, as part of a whole-system approach.

“Unless we solve this crisis, today’s obese children will become tomorrow’s obese adults, increasing their likelihood of developing other health conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.”