Forcing students to stand up could solve obesity epidemic

FORCING students to stand up in class could be one solution to the growing obesity epidemic in Australian schools, but experts say the responsibility for the rise of unhealthy kids still falls to their parents.

Central Queensland University childhood obesity expert Stephanie Schoeppe said more than 27% of Queensland children were overweight, up to 9% were obese.

Of those, one in 10 are already showing signs of high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes.

Research from the National Health Performance Authority in October suggested Gladstone, Rockhampton and Biloela with 39% labelled dangerously overweight.

Causes can include spending too much of the school day sitting down, or too many sugary drinks, but it is mostly down to the parents.

Ms Schoeppe, a PhD candidate with CQUniversity's Rockhampton campus said parents needed to set a good example.

Some might not realise that children are mirroring their own potentially low levels of activity.

"We see levels of physical activity falling in adults and in children," she said.

"In a way, parents are a role model to children."

She said schools in Australia and overseas were trialling "standing desks" but these were still novel and yet to be proven effective.

P&Cs Queensland chief executive Kevan Goodworth said the days of tuckshop junk food "are long gone".

"What kids eat on the way home or to school is another issue," he said.

"We have held professional training programs for groups of parents around the running of tuckshops, and the type of food that should or should not be sold.

"We can only hope it's striking home."


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