Updated March 25, 2019 05:16:00 More than half of children in Australia’s schools will be underweight by 2020, a major new report has found.
Key points: The report says that by 2020 more than half the children will be obese at school, and that by 2030 it is likely that half of all school children will have a BMI above 30 The report’s findings are based on a wide range of studies, including national and state surveys, but it is the first to take a national view of school obesity rates A report released today has found that about half of Australian children are obese, with more than one in four of them being underweight at school.
The research found that almost one in three children aged 5 to 12 is underweight.
It also found that by 2025, more than 40 per cent of Australian schoolchildren will be overweight.
The findings are significant because it is estimated that by 2040 the Australian population is projected to have more than four million underweight children.
“This is a real problem for children and young people who are at risk of being overweight or obese,” Professor Tim Waggoner, who co-authored the report with Professor Heather Healy from the University of Melbourne’s School of Population Health and Public Health, said.
“Children with a BMI over 30 are five times more likely to be overweight than children with a healthy BMI.”
The report, titled “Children at Risk of Being Overweight: A National Report”, has been released by the Commonwealth Fund and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
In its report, the Commonwealth Funds said the number of children being overweight at school was “increasing” and the number with a high BMI at school could be a “major problem”.
“It’s a real challenge for the health and wellbeing of children,” Professor Waggoni said.
Professor Waggooner said the high number of underweight students in schools was a result of parents not being able to meet their child’s weight needs.
“Parents are having to take more responsibility and not having the resources to manage the weight of their children,” he said.
A report from the Victorian Government also found a major problem.
A recent report by the Victorian Department of Health found that children in the state were more than five times as likely to have a high body mass index (BMI) than children in other states.
Victoria’s new report also found more than two in three of children aged 4 to 12 had a BMI of 30 or higher.
Researchers also found an increase in obesity among boys and a high number in boys and young men.
Dr Waggones said the report showed there were “many unanswered questions” about how schools were managing children’s weight.
Children’s weight can be difficult to predict and schools were “not always being able and willing to acknowledge that the weight is the problem”, he said, adding that it was important that schools took a national approach to the issue.
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