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Yoga could help obese children, says Labour peer

Yoga Instructor Bella Bottini pictured in the Fruit Juice matters garden at the Bord Bia Bloom garden festival which opens in Phoenix Park in Dublin tomorrow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 30, 2018. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Flowers Ireland . Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

By Trevor Mason, Press Association Political Staff

Obese school children could benefit from yoga lessons, it has been suggested in the House of Lords.

Labour's Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe said the current obesity plan failed to "get into the heads of young people" in making them aware of the need to take responsibility for their health.

"If we started exploring methods such as yoga with them it might be a means whereby they have a closer look at themselves, the problems they have and the opportunities they have to make a better life in the future," he said at question time.

Health minister Lord O'Shaughnessy said that while there was some evidence that regular yoga was beneficial to people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains, depression and stress, no assessment had been made of its benefits for obese school children.

He said yoga was not proven to have any impact on obesity, although it did have many other benefits.

It was something schools could and did use as part of the physical education curriculum to provide exercise.

Tory Lord McColl of Dulwich, a former surgeon, said exercise did not deal with the obesity problem and eating less was the only solution.

"Pregnant women who are obese transfer that tendency of obesity to their offspring by a mechanism which we don't understand called epigenetics."

To laughter, Lord McColl congratulated the slimline minister on being a "shining example of controlling his measurements", adding: "I've noticed that his waist measurement is less than half his height."

Lord O'Shaughnessy replied: "I'm wondering how you made such an accurate assessment. You didn't see my weight on the scales this morning."

He said there were "risks" to pregnant women from being obese "not just to themselves in terms of diabetes in pregnancy which tends to reappear in later life, but also in terms of impact on children, which is why it is so important that pregnant women get good advice about healthy eating".

Pic by Niall Carson/PA Wire

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