The number of children referred for treatment linked to obesity in the Southern Trust has fallen by around a third in the last twelve months.
According to figures obtained by the TIMES from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, in 2011/12, 132 children/young people were treated by a Dietician with obesity as the primary reason for referral, while in 2012/13, 90 children/young people were treated for obesity.
Despite the encouraging figures Dr Tracy Owen, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, at the Public Health Agency, said it is still vital that we are educated on the issues.
Dr Owen told the TIMES: “Childhood obesity is something that we should all be concerned by and we need to increase knowledge of the issue so that children can grow in to healthy adults. Obesity in children can lead to a number of both short-term and long-term serious health problems including increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“It is important for parents to remember that children need child-sized portions, they do not need the same amount of food as an adult. A five year old only needs about half the amount that an adult does and it is also crucial to remember than fruit and vegetables need to make up about a third of the meal.
“Fruit and vegetables are also great snack options too. Food and drinks that are high in fat and sugar will contribute to weight gain so limit these to treats only and give them water and healthier snacks instead.”