Almost a third of Irish children are now overweight – study

Almost a third of Irish children are now overweight – study

Irish boys rank 98th in the obesity charts and girls rank 78th out of 200 countries

Almost a third of Irish children are now overweight and the country ranks 58th out of 200 countries for its proportion of overweight youths, new data shows.

Latest statistics compiled by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, and reported on in The Lancet medical journal, demonstrate a 10-fold increase in the rate of obesity among Irish boys between 1975 and 2016, and a 9-fold increase among Irish girls.

Just 1 per cent of children in the State were classed as obese in 1975, but this has risen to 9 per cent among girls and 10 per cent among boys.

Irish boys rank 98th in the obesity charts and girls are 78th out of the 200, but there is more consistency in the country’s proportion of overweight children with both boys and girls coming in 58th place globally.

Current childhood obesity rates were highest in some Polynesian islands, where they exceeded 30 per cent.

A fifth of children and teenagers in the US and a tenth of those in the UK were obese.

The publication of the research coincided with the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks announced in the Budget on Tuesday, the first such levy to be imposed in Ireland.

Drinks with a sugar content of 8g per 100ml will be taxed at a rate of 30 cent per litre under the new measures, which are aimed at combating obesity rates in the State.

Representatives from the food and beverages industry have criticised the move, and say it will do little to address the obesity epidemic.

Global obesity

Overall, rates of obesity among children and teenagers have soared 10-fold around the world in the past four decades according to the global study.

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