Weighty issue revealed

One in five South Canterbury 4-year-olds undergoing health checks before starting school is classified as either overweight or obese.

For the year ending June 30, 2013, 62 4-year-olds (18.9 per cent) were considered overweight at their B4 School Check appointment.

For the same period, eight children (2.4 per cent) were considered obese.

South Canterbury District Health Board chief executive Nigel Trainor said those figures had increased "slightly".

In 2012, 17.2 per cent of children were considered overweight at their B4 School Check and 1.9 per cent were considered obese.

There were several possible reasons for the weight gain, Mr Trainor said, "including food quality and the quantities of food consumed, levels of exercise and lifestyle choices, and genetics".

If not controlled, the children were at risk of obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease.

Ministry of Health figures show 10,000 more New Zealand children are now classified as overweight or obese compared to last year.

The Timaru Herald