Britons are living longer than ever - but childhood obesity could undo all the progress that's been made over the last 60 years, scientists claim.

Average life expectancy is now 80 years old and exceeds that of Americans - but scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have warned the continuing trend of childhood obesity could undermine all of the work done to tackle poor diet, smoking and improvements to medical care.

In an editorial in the International Journal of Epidemiology, Professor David Leon said:

"We are yet to see the impact of a generation of people who have been obese from childhood through to adulthood. We can't predict how that will affect life expectancy figures in the future."

"We are definitely seeing type-2 diabetes occurring more in teenagers due to obesity, but this is not immediately being translated into mortality rates." Professor Leon said.

Figures recently collected from the National Child Measurement Programme indicated that a quarter of children are obese or overweight by the age of five.

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Posted by Robert Mair on 18.3.11 Comment on this article by sending it to:  

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