Child obesity epidemic seems to be raging in Australia. Kids as young as one are being diagnosed as obese, and one hospital is treating youngsters twice the size they should be.
Doctors at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, are admitting youngsters with severe weight-related health problems, such as sleep apnoea and diabetes. There is now a 12-month waiting period for the state's only child weight management clinic.
The clinic, which also has psychologists, dietitians and physiotherapists, has 150 children aged 1-16 on its books.
Pediatrician and weight specialist Shirley Alexander, who has called for morbidly obese children to be taken into care, said it was a shocking reality that the obesity crisis sweeping the nation was now affecting children aged under four.
She said over-feeding and large portion sizes, rather than junk food, were to blame for toddlers being overweight.
"We are seeing children who can't walk properly or wipe themselves because they are obese," Dr Alexander said.
"A one-year-old who should be 10kg is actually 18-20kg or a two-year-old who should be 12kg is 25kg."
She said she and colleagues were at the "coal face", dealing with children whose health was so bad they were developing potentially fatal conditions.
The Federal Government last year declared obesity a priority health problem, estimated to cost $21 billion a year.