Fat children likely to be obese adults with related health problems
IF you're obese as a child, chances are you'll be obese as an adult.
Dismissing childhood weight problems as mere "puppy fat" is a mistake, as 80pc of obese children go on to be obese adults, with all the life-threatening health consequences that can bring.
The initial problems associated with being overweight as a child are psychological, as it can lead to low self esteem, bullying and depression.
Some studies indicate that body weight influences income and job attainment rates later in life.
There are also increased risks of asthma and eczema during childhood.
Childhood obesity has also resulted in a surge in the number of children developing Type 2 diabetes.
The major health risks come as people age, and excessive weight becomes even more intractable in adulthood, making it crucial to tackle the problem early.
There is also evidence that excess fat in childhood has permanent effects on health even if the weight is shed in adulthood, though it is unclear if this is for physiological reasons or because of engrained poor exercise and diet habits.
Irish children are very poor judges of their own weight with 78pc of those who are overweight and 60pc who are obese wrongly believing they are a healthy weight.