Ireland is among the top 10 best places in the world to be a child according to UNICEF. The research that spanned 10 years (2001-2010) shows a decade of steady progress for Ireland’s children. The country has a relatively low child poverty rate of 8.5 per cent but those who do fall below the poverty line, falls harder than in other countries, giving Ireland one of the largest child poverty gaps.
Health wise the report shows a significant decline in children smoking and a decline in drinking and teenage pregnancies. Ireland also has the highest rate of children exercising with almost 1 in 3 children exercising for at least an hour a day, while 70 % of ldren eat breakfast every day. Only 15% of children in Ireland are overweight by BMI, which puts Ireland ahead of the UK, Germany and France. Unfortunately in 2013 things have changed dramatically .
According to a report from Temple St one in four children in Ireland are now obese. With obesity figures rising, the cost of this disease to the nation’s health, its health service and indeed the economy as a whole, is incalculable. And yet it is preventable. Children learn from their parents and the rate of adult obesity is also very high. Raised in an environment where a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet are prevalent, children are likely to adopt these habits and carry them into adulthood. Nowhere can this be seen more than in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in children, something that was unheard of in the past. Parents indulge their children with lavish gifts and expensive holidays, but maybe a cheaper and better gift could be to show them by example how to lead a healthy life.