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More children becoming obese, figures show
WA News / Supplied More children becoming obese, figures show

One-quarter of Australian children are either overweight or obese, a new report has revealed.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics quarterly social trends figures, released today, showed childhood obesity was continuing to rise.

In 2007-08, 25 per cent of children aged between five and 17 were overweight or obese, up four percentage points on 1995 data.

The report showed the ratio of obese boys had doubled to 10 per cent during this time, while the rate of overweight older girls was up eight percentage points to 20 per cent.

Despite more children falling into unhealthy weight ranges, there has been a surge in the numbers taking up sport.

In 2006, almost two-thirds of surveyed five- to 14-year-olds had played organised sport outside school hours, up from 59 per cent in 2000.

Participation rates in informal sporting activities, like bike riding or rollerblading, were at similar levels, occupying kids in that age bracket for an average of six hours per fortnight.

However, an estimated 37 per cent of children did not take part in sports at all.

Among older children, 77 per cent played sport or did recreational exercise in the two weeks prior to being surveyed.

Sedentary pursuits such as watching television and playing computer games are popular with children as well.

The average time spent on these two activities in 2006 was two hours per day, the maximum recommended amount.

The report warned that people who suffer weight problems during childhood were more likely to have the same problems in their adult lives.

In 2007-08, 61 per cent of adult Australians were overweight or obese.