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Children's Obesity - UK - June 2010

  • There are real indications that the upward trend in overweight and obesity rates among children has halted and even started to decline. NHS data show lower rates from 2005, and projections for future obesity levels – particularly for teenagers – have been lowered significantly as a result.
  • In January 2008, the former Labour government presented its Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy as the first step in an ambitious programme to combat obesity, promote physical activity and, ultimately, create a healthier society. Children were targeted as the first priority for action.
  • Interest and access to sporting and leisure opportunities vary greatly by gender; over half of boys spend three or more hours a week on sport compared to over a third of girls. Poorer children also spend less time on sport than wealthier children; just 38% of children in the social groups D and E spend that three or more hours a week playing sports, compared to the average 45%.
  • Although the majority of parents are happy with their children’s weight, a substantial minority of one in five report that one or more of their children is under and/or overweight. In either case, it is wealthier social groups (ABC1s) who are more likely to be worried, possibly resulting from better understanding or being over-sensitised to the issue.
  • Almost eight in ten families still sit down together at a table for main meals, eating the same food. But underweight and/or overweight children are more likely to eat at a different time from the adults, to eat their main meals in front of the TV, and to choose their own foods.
  • Parents recognise the importance of their children eating healthily and getting exercise, and in general they want fairly close control over their eating habits. Most parents do allow some flexibility though in areas such as eating sweets as well as letting their children choose how they spend their leisure time, and their pocket money.

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Key themes
        • Definition
            • Figure 1: Body Mass Index
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

              • Beat fast food at its own game
                • Fruity fun
                  • Re-define the plate
                    • Revolutionise this!
                      • Bust a move
                        • Let’s get cookin’
                        • Market in Brief

                          • What’s the real situation?
                            • What recent tactics have been employed?
                              • How kids are responding
                                • What parents think
                                • Internal Market Environment

                                  • Key points
                                    • Childhood obesity – the scale of it
                                      • Figure 2: Proportion of children in England aged 2-15 who are overweight or obese, by gender, 1995-2008
                                    • Health implications – the bleak side
                                      • Figure 3: Selected health problems associated with childhood and adolescent obesity
                                    • How patterns can develop
                                      • The food factor
                                        • A convenience food culture?
                                          • Eat out or bring it home
                                            • The family that eats together...
                                              • Parental views
                                                • Figure 4: Agreement with statements about food and cooking, 2005-09
                                              • Is snacking on the rise?
                                                • Nobody’s perfect
                                                  • Figure 5: Forms of fruit and vegetables eaten, by selected demographics, October 2008
                                                • Pointing the finger of blame
                                                  • And finally... blame the grandparents!
                                                  • Broader Market Environment

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Setting out strategy
                                                        • The need for ambition
                                                          • Priority number one
                                                            • Demographics give more opportunities
                                                              • Figure 6: Structure of the UK population aged 0-15, by age group, 2005-15
                                                            • Social marketing: Change4Life
                                                              • Measuring the results
                                                                • National Child Measurement Programme
                                                                • Competitive Context

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Potential obstacles for schools
                                                                      • Addressing the negatives
                                                                        • Wait and see
                                                                          • Obstacles for parents
                                                                            • Not all gloom
                                                                            • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                              • Strengths
                                                                                • Weaknesses
                                                                                • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Building on kids’ enjoyment – learn to love food
                                                                                      • Welcome back to Jamie Oliver!
                                                                                        • The role of technology too
                                                                                          • Technology on the move
                                                                                            • Surf the streets
                                                                                              • Broadening access
                                                                                                • On a local level
                                                                                                • Children’s Leisure Time and Eating Habits

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • How teenagers spend their free time
                                                                                                      • Figure 7: Activities done by teenagers in their free time, 2008-09
                                                                                                    • Boys more active
                                                                                                      • Teen exercise may be on the rise
                                                                                                        • Figure 8: Number of hours a week played sports outside school or in leisure time, 2005-09
                                                                                                      • Summarising the differences
                                                                                                        • Figure 9: Number of hours a week played sports outside school or in leisure time, by gender and socio-economic group, 2009
                                                                                                      • Where are the facilities?
                                                                                                        • Figure 10: Place of exercise, 2005-09
                                                                                                      • Teens and food – they know what they should be doing
                                                                                                        • Figure 11: Teen attitudes towards food, 2005-09
                                                                                                      • Many kids are fussy eaters and trying to lose weight
                                                                                                        • Teen food issues
                                                                                                          • Figure 12: Eating issues affecting close friends of teens, 2005-09
                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Eating issues affecting close friends of teens, by gender and socio-economic group, 2009
                                                                                                        • Teen dining
                                                                                                          • Figure 14: Factors most important when eating in a restaurant, 2008-09
                                                                                                        • But who is more choosy?
                                                                                                          • Figure 15: Selected factors deemed most important when eating in a restaurant with friends, by gender and socio-economic group, 2009
                                                                                                          • Figure 16: Selected factors deemed most important when eating in a restaurant with parents, by gender and socio-economic group, 2009
                                                                                                      • Parental Perceptions of Children’s Weight

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • My own children are...
                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Parents’ perceptions of their children’s weight, May 2010
                                                                                                          • ABC1s and others
                                                                                                            • Figure 18: Summary view of parents’ perceptions of their children’s weight, by selected demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                          • Is their weight a concern?
                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Parents’ perceptions of the implications of their children’s weight, May 2010
                                                                                                        • Parental Influence on Children’s Eating and Leisure Habits

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Fairly traditional eating patterns
                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Children’s eating habits, May 2010
                                                                                                            • The food itself
                                                                                                              • The relationship between weight and eating habits
                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Children’s eating habits, by parents’ perceptions of their children’s weight, May 2010
                                                                                                              • Parental attitudes towards their children’s lifestyle
                                                                                                                • Figure 22: Parental attitudes towards their children’s eating and leisure habits, May 2010
                                                                                                              • The relationship between weight and parental attitudes
                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Parental attitudes towards their children’s eating and leisure habits, by parents’ perceptions of their children’s weight, May 2010
                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Main demographic differences in parental attitudes, by weight of children, 2010
                                                                                                            • Tackling Child Obesity

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Parents accept responsibility, but point finger at food industry
                                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Assessment of who/what is responsible for children becoming overweight or obese, May 2010
                                                                                                                • Industry action needed
                                                                                                                  • Does the child’s weight have any relevance?
                                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Assessment of who/what is very responsible for children becoming overweight or obese, by parents who feel their children are overweight or underweight/about right, May 2010
                                                                                                                  • Key demographic differences
                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Main demographic differences in parental assessments of who/what is responsible for children becoming overweight or obese, 2010
                                                                                                                  • Most important ways to tackle child obesity
                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Most important ways to tackle child obesity from a parent’s perspective, May 2010
                                                                                                                  • Any link between responsibility and solution?
                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Summary of main differences in parental assessments of who/what is responsible for children becoming overweight or obese, by ways to tackle obesity, 2010
                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Assessment of who/what is most responsible for children becoming overweight or obese, by selected ways to tackle child obesity from a parent’s perspective, May 2010
                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Assessment of who/what is most responsible for children becoming overweight or obese, by further selected ways to tackle child obesity from a parent’s perspective, May 2010
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Broader Market Environment

                                                                                                                  • Healthy weight, healthy lives
                                                                                                                    • Government announces first steps in strategy to help people maintain healthy weight and live healthier lives
                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: How teenagers spend their money, 2005-09
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Children’s Leisure Time and Eating Habits

                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Activities done by teenagers in free time, by demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Number of hours a week played sports outside school or in leisure time, by demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Place of exercise, 2005-09
                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Place of exercise, by demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Teen attitudes towards food, by demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Teen attitudes towards food, by demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Teen attitudes towards food, by demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Teen issues demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Parental Perceptions of Children’s Weight

                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Most popular parents’ perceptions of their children’s weight, by demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Next most popular parents’ perceptions of their children’s weight, by demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Parents’ perceptions of their children’s weight, by demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Parental influence on Children’s Eating and Leisure Habits

                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Children’s eating habits, by demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Children’s eating habits, by demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Children’s eating habits, by demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Tackling Child Obesity

                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Assessment of who/what is responsible for children becoming overweight or obese, by demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Assessment of who/what is responsible for children becoming overweight or obese, by demographics, May 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Most important ways to tackle child obesity from a parent’s perspective, by demographics, May 2010

                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                    • Advertising Standards Authority
                                                                                                                    • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                    • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                    • Bighams Ltd
                                                                                                                    • British Heart Foundation
                                                                                                                    • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                    • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                    • Burger King UK Ltd
                                                                                                                    • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                    • Department for Education and Skills
                                                                                                                    • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
                                                                                                                    • Department of Health
                                                                                                                    • Food Standards Agency
                                                                                                                    • Freeview
                                                                                                                    • Graig Farm Organics
                                                                                                                    • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                    • Jamie Oliver
                                                                                                                    • Kantar Media
                                                                                                                    • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                    • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                    • McDonald's Restaurants Limited (UK)
                                                                                                                    • mmO2 plc
                                                                                                                    • Nandos UK
                                                                                                                    • Netto Foodstores Ltd
                                                                                                                    • Ofcom
                                                                                                                    • Orange plc (UK)
                                                                                                                    • Sport England
                                                                                                                    • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                    • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                    • Virgin Media Ltd
                                                                                                                    • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                    • Whitbread PLC
                                                                                                                    • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
                                                                                                                    • World Health Organization

                                                                                                                    Children's Obesity - UK - June 2010

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