In Spain, half the adult population weighs more than is considered normal, 39.2 percent are overweight and 15.5 percent are obese, according to the National Health Poll 2003. The main causes of this rise in obesity in Spain are attributable to two changes: the change in eating habits and the change in exercise habits.
A menu rich in fruits, vegetables and cereals has been replaced by food abundant in meat, milk and bakery products and carbonated drinks, which are very much easier to prepare and eat but have a high calorie content. To this must be added the growing levels of children who take little or no exercise.
Spain is, in fact, the second European country in which children take least exercise in their free time, only exceeded by Portugal.
Some 38 percent of Spanish children prefer to watch television, play computer games or sit at their computer instead of taking exercise.
The figures also show that one in three children have a low level of physical activity outside of school, which means that they exercise for less than one hour per day. This campaign, which will be broadcast via the media up to November 30, will try to instil healthy eating habits into the population.
The campaign is directed especially at children and adolescents because these are the ages when good eating habits can be instilled which will be carried on into adult life. According to the Minister there are studies, such as EnKid from 2001, which show that 59.5 percent of children spend less than 10 minutes at breakfast.
This lack of time at the breakfast table is also associated with a low nutritional quality in their breakfast habits.
On the subject of quality of breakfast, 19.3 percent of the child population just have a glass of milk for breakfast and 56 percent have some form of carbohydrate with it. As regardso the lack of exercise, Spanish boys and girls spend an average of two and a half hours a day watching television.
They spend another half an hour playing computer games or on the computer instead of exercising.
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