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OBESITY THE FIGURES

Ireland has the highest rate of overweight and obese children (27pc) under five years among EU member states (WHO, 2014)

21pc of seven year olds were either overweight or obese (Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative, 2012)

20pc of nine-year-old boys and 22pc of nine-year-old girls were overweight or obese (COSI, 2012)

Being overweight (including obesity) in 13 year olds was 26pc - with higher prevalence in girls, 30pc compared to boys 23pc (COSI, 2012)

6pc of all 13 year olds are obese (5pc boys and 8pc girls) (Growing Up in Ireland, 2011-2012).

Trends have stabilised among nine year olds and have reduced among seven year olds.

There has been no change in children since 2008 who attend the DEIS disadvantaged schools where one in four children is overweight or obese.

19pc of boys and 18pc of girls from professional households are overweight/obese (Growing Up in Ireland, 2011/12)

29pc of boys and 38pc of girls from semi and unskilled households are overweight/obese (Growing Up in Ireland, 2011/12)

Sunday Independent