Modern Christmas presents are making children fat

SOME of the most popular Christmas presents cause children to get fat, a report on child obesity said yesterday.

This Christmas's most desired toys do not encourage enough healthy play and exercise, compared to the favourite toys of the 1970s, the study found.

In a survey of PE teachers, only 3 per cent blamed an increase in child obesity on diet alone. Three quarters (76 per cent) blamed a combination of no exercise and poor diet.

Eighty-five per cent of PE teachers said children were not as fit as they should be. The report, by the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (Newi), said toys had the biggest influence on children's fitness, followed by parents.

Professor Kate Sullivan said: "There is no doubt that children today are not as fit as they should be. We have seen an increase in children spending less time playing outdoors and more time in front of the TV, playing computer games or transfixed by the text messages on their mobile phones.

"If you ask a child what they had for Christmas this year it won't be anything to do with physical exercise, it is far more likely to be a DVD, iPod or Xbox.

We are worried that children and young people simply don't spend enough time outdoors running around, cycling, climbing trees or playing sports."

Back to the top of the page