Child obesity rates increased during crisis

A new study points to an increase in child obesity during the years of Greece’s economic crisis, reversing an apparent stabilization of the phenomenon in the years prior to that.

The proportion of primary school children in Attica deemed to be obese rose from 8.2 percent in 2009 to 9.4 percent in 2014, according to the study carried out by the dietology department at Athens’s Harokopio University on a sample of 28,860 schoolchildren during the 2009-10 academic year and 30,425 in 2013-14.

Academics who participated in the study said the results appeared to suggest the reversal of a positive trend in the pre-2009 period, when child obesity rates had stabilized and appeared to be dropping.

The study suggested that children living in families with a lower disposable income were more likely to be obese.

The results of the study also indicated a rise in the proportion of children who skip breakfast – to 24.9 percent this year from 14.8 percent in 2009 – and a drop to 45.8 percent, from 66.2 percent, in the proportion of children who eat fish or pulses at least once a week.

In addition, the proportion of children who eat out once a week plunged to 18.5 percent from 65.1 percent.

Separately, Health Minister Makis Voridis said the government would henceforth cover the cost of equipment such as glucose monitors, test strips and blood lancets for uninsured diabetes sufferers.

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