Adam Niedzielski made the remark at a news conference in Warsaw on Wednesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The health minister outlined the findings of a study by the Institute of Mother and Child (IMiD) that examined the health of Polish children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The researchers looked at the weight, height and blood pressure of more than 2,000 eight-year-olds nationwide, according to officials.
‘The health of our children is deteriorating’: minister
Commenting on the results, Niedzielski told reporters: “The health of our children is deteriorating, both in terms of obesity and excess weight.”
He added: “This has very serious consequences, because, as we know, obesity and excess weight are the main risk factors when it comes to cardiovascular issues, namely blood pressure … but also other complications related to diabetes or other ailments.”
'One-fifth of Polish eight-year-old boys are obese'
The IMiD’s Prof. Anna Fijałkowska said: “The research has found an increasing incidence of excess weight and obesity among children in the eight-year-old age group.”
She added that the proportion of eight-year-olds with excess weight has increased by almost 5 percent since the previous study, and there were also more kids with high blood pressure.
“One-fifth of Polish eight-year-old boys ... are suffering from obesity,” Fijałkowska warned.
A survey of parents found that Polish children began consuming more salty snacks and sweets during the COVID-19 pandemic, and spending more time in front of computers and TVs, Fijałkowska said.
She told reporters that “only 50 percent of the surveyed parents described the emotional condition of their children as very good.”
New gov't strategy to protect children's health
Niedzielski announced that "in February the government will unveil a special strategy to protect children’s health.”
The new strategy will pool the efforts of various government experts, including those on education, sports and agriculture, he said.
The IMiD study into the health of Polish eight-year-olds was conducted last year among 2,228 children and 865 parents in 109 schools nationwide, the PAP news agency reported.
Source: IAR, PAP, interia.pl