Overweight Children

Childhood obesity is a burning issue in Australia and the latest snapshot has not painted a pretty picture. Perth Kids are the fattest in the nation behind Sydney. 26.6% of kids here are considered overweight or obese.

In WA, boys fared worse than girls.

In 2007 - 2008 23.1% of boys were overweight or obese. In 2011/12 that had risen to 27.3%

In 2007 -2008 27.2% of girls were overweight in the last survey that had dropped to 25.6%

In W.A the highest group for overweight or obese children was those in single parent families at 36.3 % compared that's more than one in three - compared to 24.7% of children in two parent families.

But Dr Joe cautions that the Body Mass Index or BMI is not always a great way to measure obesity especially in children - or even very fit adults.

Graeme Wright is a clinical Exercise physiologist - he says childhood obesity is a problem but studies like these need to be put in context. "Lobbing all the kids together in one bucket is not great because we see diversity cross postcodes for example where you'll see populations you only have to go to your local shopping centres in different parts of Perth to realise it's not right across the board it is in certain areas." Graeme Wright says lifestyle plays a huge part alongside diet and exercise - but if parents have overweight children the first place they should look for answers is themselves

Australia is certainly not alone in tackling the issue of childhood obesity - and according the Graeme there's plenty we can learn from studies overseas, "when you look at some of the work coming out of the UK there is a lot of information about trying to prevent kids from actually getting fat because once they do have fat on them it is very difficult to remove I think if any of us have tried to shift fat off us it's hard work."

For information on childhood obesity, head to the Department of Health website

www.public.health.wa.gov.au