SOME 14 percent of Balearic children are obese, according to a study among children and young people between three to 18 years old, which reveals that there has been a “tremendous rise” in obesity in this age group. This statement was made by the head of the Clinical and Dietary Nutrition Unit from Madrid's Ramon y Cajal hospital, Clotilde Vazquez, who gave the conference “Child obesity: integral treatment”, as part of a course about nutritional and educative strategies in Palma. Vazquez highlighted that “the most outstanding thing” relating to the growth of child obesity is that obesity is now more prevalent in children than in adults. She said this calls for the application of strategies to contain child obesity, and thus avoid a generation which “for the first time in history” will not live as long as the one before it. An excess of fat encourages cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer, warned the doctor. She also cited lack of exercise and poor diet as the main causes of obesity in children. Children live in a “hostile” environment, because they have “inadequate” food and practise hardly any sport, which means we are seeing more and more little children with “stomachs typical of an adult beer drinker” instead of the former type of obesity which was spread more over the body, she said. The doctor also said that the less advantaged sections of society had higher levels of obesity, around 30 percent, whereas the higher classes have a better education and the means to avoid it. In addition to this, she said, the fact is that fruit and vegetables are expensive foods, so poorer people have to choose cheaper and less healthy options for both themselves and their children.

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