This week on YourSpace a poll has been launched which asks young people how important to them it is to stay healthy. On the website, which is targeted at teenagers, they are also asked what support they feel is needed.
Current national statistics indicate that 33% of children in the UK aged 11 to 15 could be classified as overweight or obese. It is hoped that the poll will raise awareness of the problem, particularly how teenagers can achieve a healthy weight and maintain their health through school.
West Sussex Public Health team is leading the poll in the hope that it will encourage young people to vocally raise their opinions, giving insight into what they think about their own weight and how much physical activity they do.
Physical activity in childhood can improve self-esteem and concentration which helps improve school attendance. It also positively affects behaviour, bone development and social interaction. It is also possible to reduce the risk of getting things like diabetes and coronary heart disease; children who are physically active are more likely to be physically active adults.
In West Sussex a survey proved that of people aged 14 to 15 only 53% felt they were ‘moderately active’ and 14% said that they were not active at all. However on a positive note, 77% said they believed they had a healthy diet and 69% ate at least three portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
Healthy Weight Lead in West Sussex, Sue Carmichael, has spoken about how many health consequences there are when you are overweight at a young age. Those who are overweight tend to be more prone to bullying, often effecting the child psychologically. There is also the risk of later health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.