Northern Ireland

24% of Northern Ireland children 'obese by 11', Institute of Education study says

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Media captionThe study suggests one in four Northern Ireland children born since 2000 will be obese by the age of 11

Almost one in four Northern Irish children born at the beginning of the new century was obese by the age of 11, a new study suggests.

Just over 24% of the 1,300 children living in Northern Ireland who were surveyed by researchers at the Institute of Education, London, were found to be obese.

The obesity figure for 11-year-olds was higher than in other parts of the UK.

Wales had an obesity level of 23%, with England 20% and Scotland 19%.

However, the study said Wales had a marginally higher overall proportion of children who were either overweight or obese (40.5% compared to Northern Ireland's 39.9%).

The equivalent figures for England and Scotland were 35% and 33%.

The Institute of Education research for the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) collected information on the weight and height of more than 13,000 UK children.

Dr Roxanne Connelly, who analysed the data, said "the number of children who were an unhealthy weight was significantly greater at age 11 than in previous MCS surveys".

"Across the UK, the proportion of children who were obese or overweight rose from 25% at age seven to 35% at age 11," she said.

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