Health professionals must do more to help families diffuse the “obesity time bomb”, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has claimed.
New guidance released by NICE aims to put families at the heart of tackling the issue.
Health professionals and local authorities should encourage parents and carers to help their overweight child to change their behaviour, according to NICE.
The guidance also stresses the importance of helping parents and carers recognise that their child is overweight or obese.
In the UK, around 30% of children aged two to 15 years old are either overweight or obese and at risk of various diseases.
Over the past decade, increasing numbers of younger people have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Asthma and sleep apnoea when breathing are also a risk.
Of those who are obese as teenagers, four in five will probably become obese adults, putting them at risk from serious health conditions including coronary heart disease and some cancers.
Professor Mike Kelly, director of the NICE centre for public health said: “Obesity in children and young people is a serious and growing concern. We are recommending family-based lifestyle programmes are provided which give tailored advice. These programmes will also support parents to identify changes that can be done at home to tackle obesity – and maintained over the long-term. Many of them are things we should all be doing anyway, including healthy eating, getting the whole family to be more active and reducing the amount of time spent watching TV and playing computer games.
“Being overweight or obese has a significant impact on a child’s quality of life. It can affect their self-esteem and they are more likely to be bullied or stigmatised.”