Child Obesity and Health

Child Obesity and Health — download the full report in pdf format Click on the accompanying image to read or download the full document.


The Future of Freemasonry

An examination of the role of Freemasonry in the 21st century


This report is, as far as we know, an account of the first ever study that has been commissioned by Freemasons from a non-Masonic body. None of the SIRC members involved in the project are Freemasons, a fact that evoked surprise and welcome in equal measure from the Lodge members we met. more

The Changing Face of Motherhood

Insights from three generations of mothers

Recession Generation

The report seeks to answer some specific questions about the changing face of motherhood and determine the extent to which modern ‘solutions’ to motherhood are more or less beneficial than the solutions of the past. more

The impact of the commercial world on children's wellbeing

Report of an independent assessment

The impact of the commercial world on children's wellbeing

Two years ago, in the Children's Plan, the DCSF committed itself to commission an independent assessment of the impact of the commercial world on children's wellbeing. That assessment, led by Professor David Buckingham, is now complete. As part of the process SIRC was commissioned to undertake two major reviews: Children and Family Life: Socio-Demographic Changes and The Ecology of Family Life. more

Recession Generation

Psychological impact & the lessons of recession

Recession Generation

There can be very few people in Britain who are unaware that we have been living in times of recession…It is clear that people — even those unaffected directly — are worried, especially about their future financial security. But are there some positive lessons to be learnt? more

Child Obesity and Health

Stop demonizing ‘couch potato’ kids: Children are getting slimmer and healthier

English children are getting slimmer and healthier — but the hype about childhood obesity and the moralistic tirades on our children’s unhealthy lifestyles continue regardless.

An analysis of the latest Health Survey for England (HSE) data, published today by the Social Issues Research Centre, shows that since 2004:

The HSE statistics unequivocally show a decline in both the average Body Mass Index and the incidence of obesity in English children – along with clear evidence that children are adopting healthier lifestyles.

These figures were published by the HSE in December 2011 — and yet have been largely ignored, as leading figures in what might be called the ‘obesity industry’ (including many organisations funded by the pharmaceutical and slimming industries) continue to rant about our ‘childhood obesity epidemic’.

The oft-repeated ‘fact’ that this country has the highest levels of childhood overweight and obesity in Europe is also misleading. The apparently higher rates are due to the fact that we measure overweight and obesity in children differently from most other nations. If we adopted international standards, the number of overweight and obese children in this country would be around half that currently claimed.

A recent report from the parliamentary group on Body Image has drawn attention to the highly damaging impacts of an over-emphasis on the weight and physical shape of children. Perhaps it is now time to heed their warnings and give our children, and their parents, some credit for their increasingly healthy lifestyles — rather than berating them and using outdated measures that, like a fairground distorting mirror, make them look fatter than they really are.

In this ‘National Childhood Obesity Week’, the SIRC report, Children, obesity and heath: Recent trends, holds up a true mirror, accurately reflecting the trend towards slimmer, healthier children.

July 2012

Click here to read or download the report.