The United Kingdom, like the United States, has a growing problem with childhood obesity, and a new study shows that there may be a correlation between gender and class.
According to the study, three out of five boys raised in the poorest parts of the country will be obese by the time they enter the US equivalent of middle school.
By 2020, it is predicted that 60% of boys in the least wealthy parts of the country will be overweight or obese.
Girls, however, don’t face the same risks, according to research. Only 1 in 5 girls are overweight or obese, regardless of class.
Researchers suggest that societal focus on female thinness has urged more young girls to purchase products that aren’t highly caloric or contain a lot of sugar. Boys, on the other hand, don’t often have the same body awareness and may be more susceptible to buying whatever the feel like might taste good in the moment.
It is also suspected that boys are more loyal to brands that they like, so they will continue to buy products that are unhealthy because they want to continue to support the brand.
Additionally, boys also may be more susceptible to marketing tactics than young girls, especially because boys may not be pressured at a young age to look a certain way.
Robin Ireland, chief executive at charity the Health Equalities Group, a member of the Obesity Health Alliance, shed further light onto why this may be the case:
“It seems that boys buy into brand loyalty more, buying blindly into what’s been presented to them, so if an energy drink links itself with skateboarding and adventures they buy into the idea.”
Children who are obese face many of the same risks as obese adults, including a heightened risk for Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Obese children are 5 times more likely to become obese adults, according to statistics by the NHS (National Health Service) in the United Kingdom.
Currently, the UK is the second fattest nation in Europe. It is only eclipsed by Hungary percentage wise. However, since Hungary has a much smaller population, the UK has far more obese people living within its borders.