Published Tuesday, 27 August 2013
NI Chest Heart & Stroke said it was shocked by the findings of a University College London study showing that only 43% of local seven-year-olds achieved the recommended one hour of exercise each day.
The research showed that girls fared worse than boys.
"But the problem runs much deeper than that," NICHS Chief Executive Andrew Dougal said.
"In combination with too little exercise, too many children are eating poor diets which are high in fat, salt and sugar.
"We're storing up a health time bomb for the future. It's particularly worrying that the exercise survey was carried out among seven-year-olds, because children tend to become less rather than more active as they become older."
"Childhood obesity in Northern Ireland has increased from 27% in 2010-11 to 31% in 2011-12 and is likely to rise further," he continued.
"To address the problem, we need to see co-operation between schools, parents, food producers, Government and health charities. That's one of the reasons we have expanded our health programmes in schools and plan to expand them further from the start of 2014."
The interactive programmes introduce primary and secondary school pupils to the need for a healthier lifestyle, and include tips on better eating, getting more exercise and giving up smoking.
NI Chest Heart & Stroke also provides health assessments in the community, including checks on cholesterol, blood pressure and lung health.
© UTV News