Switch off TV to end child obesity

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Kindergartens should ban television-watching for toddlers and focus on “fun activities” to prevent them from becoming fat, according to an EU-funded survey into obesity prevention for four-to-six-year-olds.

Parents should also cut down on pre-school television- watching in bedrooms and unhealthy snacks in the fridge, a Greek professor leading a research project said.

Computer games should be restricted amid growing evidence that more youngsters have weight problems before they get to school age.

The ToyBox survey, the first phase of an investigation into how best to resolve the problem, found that obesity among European pre-schoolers is hitting record levels, with more than one in eight children overweight in northern Europe – rising to more than 25 per cent in parts of southern Europe.

ToyBox co-ordinator Yannis Manios, assistant professor at Harokopio University, Athens, said: “We need a new approach to prevent obesity.”

The study, involving research in Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the UK, showed the need for better health-promoting policies targeted at youngsters.