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Britain's Girls are Fattest in Europe

Update Date: Nov 19, 2014 10:16 AM EST

Sounding an alarm over growing waistline of children, more specifically girls, doctors in UK have raised the need for policy changes to improve child health.

A study from Royal Society of Paediatrics and Child Health shows that 29 percent of girls and 26 percent of boys in Britain are obese, while girls under 20 in Britain are the fattest in Europe. The findings published by RSPCH are based on data collected between 1983 and 2013, Daily Mail reported.

"Britain is dubbed 'the fat man of Europe' - with a third of children overweight or obese by the age of 9," doctors wrote in the report.

Telegraph quoted experts saying that Britain's rising child obesity levels are clearly attributable to consumption of excessive calories. They also tie higher obesity levels to poor income groups, arguing that lower incomes makes cheap junk foods more accessible. Researchers in Britain have also linked sugar-laden fruit juice to childhood obesity.

On other fronts, the RSPCH reported high child mortality rates in UK, terming it the second worst performing country, with five more deaths than the best performing country. On mental health, the report mentions that 1 in 10 children or three in every classroom, have a diagnosable mental health condition.

"The health of young people in the United Kingdom has been falling behind the rest of Europe for too long, and it is crucial that all political parties commit to eradicating this discrepancy in their manifestos for the upcoming elections," said Lisa Murphy, a member of the RCPCH's Youth Advisory Panel in a news release.

"There is an overwhelming body of evidence which highlights the need for early intervention in ensuring good health - through integration of health and education, reduction of socioeconomic inequalities and mandatory provision of paediatric training for all those in community health services."

The report has called for corrective measures including introduction of strong measures to restrict alcohol access to children, introduction of speed limits, ban on commercials advertising unhealthy foods before 9 pm and implementation of nutrition training for teachers among other measures.

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