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There are calls for parents to “tread carefully” when talking to children about their weight.
A new report has revealed more five-year-olds in Wales are obese compared to those in England.
The surveillance programme from Public Health Wales shows more than a quarter of children in reception have an unhealthy body mass index – 11% of those are classed as obese.
Amy McClelland’s a psychologist and tells Heart being overweight can have a huge impact on a child’s self –esteem:
“Going to school, being bullied can really affect children. We don’t want children becoming unnecessarily self-conscious about their weight because often it’s just a phase and it’s going to pass. It’s a serious matter but we don’t want them to become obsessed about their appearance”.
Merthyr Tydfil has the highest number of overweight children, closely followed by Gwynedd and Bridgend.
Linda Bailey, a consultant at Public Health Wales says deprivation and obesity levels often go hand-in hand:
“In areas where you’ve got poorer socio-economic status, people’s incomes are lower, sometimes it’s about access to resources and sometimes it’s about opportunites for play. It is very easy to eat healthily on a low budget, but people don’t always know the right things to do”.
Mums and dads are being encouraged to swap fizzy drinks for water and avoid rewarding children with sweets and chocolate.