Obesity rates in reception-age children rises again in 2017

Henrietta Strickland
October 20, 2017

Child obesity has risen again as poor children get fatter while their wealthier peers get thinner, a study of more than a million pupils has found.

More than one in three children (34.2 per cent) in year six were either overweight or obese in 2016-17 and nearly one in four children (22.6 per cent) were overweight or obese in reception year. For year 6 students, these figures stood at 26.3 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively.

These figures are a stark reminder of the urgent childhood obesity crisis that we face as a nation, and the need for decisive, radical action. A measurement between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, and a measurement in excess of 30 is considered obese.

The Chair of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board has responded to the latest childhood obesity figures published by NHS Digital showing that obesity prevalence has continued to increase in the past year.

When it comes to obesity alone, there are also large regional differences. In Year 6, 11.3 per cent of pupils in Rutland are obese, rising to 29.2 per cent in Barking and Dagenham.

Of particular concern is the fact that 12.7 percent of reception-aged children in the most deprived areas are obese, compared to 5.8 percent in the least deprived regions.

Caroline Cerny, head of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of more than 40 organisations including charities, said: "Each year the childhood obesity statistics tell the same devastating story".

"Successfully tackling obesity involves both individuals taking responsibility for their own decisions and government supporting them to do so".

'While progress on reducing the amount of sugar in soft drinks has been a welcome step forward, these are problems where a "pick and mix" approach to policies is nowhere near enough to address one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.

"But a real commitment to tackling obesity means also getting to grips with the environment in which our children grow up", Ms Cerny said. The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has described childhood obesity as a ' great scandal' but does little to tackle it.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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