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"It's vital that parents introduce children to fun and physically active pastimes to help prevent them becoming obese children, who are likely to become obese adults at risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers," Maura Gillespie, head of policy and advocacy at the British Heart Foundation, said in a statement.
Nearly a quarter of British adults are obese, and experts estimate that by 2050 about 90 percent of adults will be heavy.
According to a 2008 health survey that used devices to measure how much people actually exercised, officials found only about 5 percent of Britons meet the government's minimum physical activity advice -- about 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every week, including some every day.
For children aged 5 to 18, Britain recommends at least one hour of exercise, but that should include intensive activities to strengthen muscles and bones.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises children and teenagers to get about one hour or more of physical activity every day.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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