Report on childhood obesity

21 November 2011

Childhood obesity rates have plateaued in NSW at nearly 23 per cent but there continues to be a wide gap between the activity levels of boys and girls.

These were two of the key findings of a landmark study into childhood obesity and the eating and activity trends of among school-aged children in NSW, released by the Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, and the Minister for Healthy Lifestyles, Kevin Humphries.

More than 8000 school students from over 100 schools were measured for height, weight, eating habits, physical activity, fundamental movement skills and cardio-respiratory fitness in early 2010 as part of the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS).

Mr Piccoli said the SPANS 2010 reports will help to shape the government's programs to reduce overweight and obesity in school students across the state.

The report also found that:

  • Boys continue to be more active than girls, with 52 per cent of boys achieving recommended levels of activity, compared with 41 per cent of girls.
     
  • Overweight and obesity was higher in boys than girls, with 24% of male students and 21.5% of female students being overweight or obese.
     
  • Consumption of fruit was high among primary school students, with 96% of students consuming adequate amounts. However, for high school students adequate fruit consumption was significantly lower with approximately 42% of Year 8 and 10 students consuming the recommended three serves per day.
     
  • Fried potato products were consumed at high levels, with 64.7% of students in Years K, 2, 4, and 6, and 66.2% of students in Year 8 and 10 eating them one or more times per week.
     
  • 13.2% of students in Year K 2, 4 and 6, and 13.8% of students in Years 8 and 10 consumed more than one cup of soft drink per day.
     
  • 19.3% of students in Year K 2, 4, and 6 ate dinner in front of the television on five or more occasions per week.

Under the Healthy Children's Initiative of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, NSW will receive $53 million over four years to deliver healthy weight, healthy eating and physical activity programs to children and young people and their families through settings such as early childhood services and schools.

Read the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey report:

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