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Health Minister in new drive to tackle childhood obesity scourge

Health Minister Edwin Poots has launched a new initiative aimed at tackling the growing threat of childhood obesity.

Speaking at the launch of a lifestyle programme called ‘UP4iT’ in Craigavon, the DUP man said the impact of childhood obesity was a real concern.

“Obese children are more likely to become obese adults, and therefore suffer poor health because of a lifetime of poor lifestyle habits. So the promotion of healthy eating and good physical activity habits while children are young is paramount,” he said at the event.

The Department of Health pointed to research which shows that obesity can reduce life expectancy by up to nine years as well as increase the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer — Northern Ireland’s biggest killers. It also increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

“Ensuring that children have the best opportunities for food and nutrition, and physical activity and play in their early years, will have a huge impact on the way they make their own health and wellbeing decisions later in life,” Mr Poots added.

The UP4iT programme focuses on obesity prevention and involves parents and children in the Southern Health and Social Services Trust area.

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