On the agenda - Study questions causes of obesity

In a nutshell New evidence uncovered by obesity experts suggests that lack of exercise is not a major factor in the rising levels of childhood obesity in the UK. The findings call into question the effectiveness of Government initiatives aimed at combating obesity by encouraging children to undertake more physical activity.

Childhood obesity: lack of exercise not to blame
Childhood obesity: lack of exercise not to blame
- What was discovered?

The findings, in a report published by the EarlyBird Diabetes Study, indicate that while less active children are more likely to be overweight, there is little evidence to back the commonly made assumption that lack of activity leads to obesity. The study's findings indicate it could be rising levels of obesity that are leading to children taking less exercise.

- What can be done?

The report calls on childhood obesity to be addressed to counter the falling levels of physical activity in children. It says a shift in focus towards scrutinising food eaten by children is more likely to bring obesity under control.

- PR strategy

The PR was handled jointly by PR Works, headed by Andrew Gould, and lobbying firm PLMR. An embargoed press release was sent out to the media and pre-recorded broadcast interviews were also set up with selected media outlets.

- Media coverage

The story was picked up on the BBC News Health website. It was also discussed on BBC News and the Today programme. National coverage included pieces on the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail websites.

17% of boys aged two to 15 were obese in 2008

24% of girls took part in an hour or more of physical activity a week in 2008

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