A new study shows that obesity rates among children in Cyprus are the highest in Europe, showing preference in fatty foods and low desire for physical activity.
The study, funded by the Organiko Life+ project which gets half of its funding from the EU, showed that young girls in Cyprus spend about one hour of physical activity each week, while boys spend two hours.
But generally, according to the study which was presented at the Cyprus University of Technology, children on the island prefer a sedentary lifestyle and prefer fatty foods.
Children in Cyprus have 33 servings of dessert each week while the Health Ministry recommends only 14
The study was based on 149 students in elementary school, fifth and sixth grades, overseen by Konstantinos Makris, an associate professor of environmental health in the Cyprus International Institute for Environmental and Public Health.
On average, children on the island have 33 servings of dessert each week while the Health Ministry recommends only 14.
The study also found that fruit and vegetable consumption is very low among children. Boys tend to have about 4 servings and girls about six, instead of the recommended 28 each week.
Cereal also scored relatively low, with 22 servings instead of 52.5 which is the recommended minimum.
However, kids did not appear to cut down on dairy products, eggs, meat and fish.
The study also looked at the importance of organic food, with findings suggesting that food products exposed to pesticides were affecting children.
The most common causes of obesity are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors, with some studies suggesting that children who are obese are likely to remain obese into adulthood.