Health study reveals lower rate of obesity in 11-year-olds

The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study showed that Maltese pre-teens also improved in their performance of exercise but other categories, age groups did not fare as well

A health survey on school-aged children has revealed that the rate of obesity in 11-year-olds has dropped from 33.5% in 2010 to 28% in 2014.

The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HSBC) is a study carried out in collaboration with the World Health Organization, and aimed at collecting data on childhood and adolescent obesity. The study takes place every four years.

Between the 2010 and 2014 studies, an improvement in the consumption of fruit and an increase in physical activity was also noted. More children, across all age groups, are also eating breakfast and consuming fewer soft drinks, though Maltese children still consume more sugary beverages than average. 

There were mixed results in the exercise category - 11-year-olds matched the study's average for the performance of moderate exercise for one hour a day. 13-year-olds and 15-year-olds were below average in this category.

Parliamentary secretary for health Chris Fearne said the improvements are the result of a number of several campaigns aimed at raising awareness among children.

“The Lunchbox Campaign and Schools on the Move are just two of the initiatives that are encouraging children to eat better and exercise,” Fearne said.

“Though we’re on the right track, there is much more to be done.”

Fearne also said that a campaign to be launched later this year will focus on promoting a Mediterranean diet.

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