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The number of fat kids in the UK has officially doubled, and the finger of blame is pointing squarely at computer games.

A study, released today by researchers at King's College London, looked at kids between four and eleven over a twenty year period, and found that the number of girls classed as overweight had gone up by 50 per cent, while the number of boys in the same category had doubled.

Between 1984 and 1994 the researchers weighed more than 30,000 children. In 1984 just five per cent of boys and 9.3 per cent of girls were overweight, about the same as ten years earlier. By 1994 however, the numbers had risen to nine and 13.5 per cent respectively.

A report in the Daily Mail said that kids were putting on weight because they were sitting in front of games consoles, snacking, rather than doing any physical activity.

One of the study's authors, Sue Chinn, said that kids were getting fatter because they were not exercising enough. She is quoted in The Sun as saying: "A reduction in physical activity since the early 1980's would appear to be the main cause in the increase in overweight children."

She went on to suggest that now children probably get even less exercise that when her study ended. "It is a bad situation," she told reporters. "And it is getting worse." ®

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