Childhood obesity on the rise

Children living in deprived areas are more than twice as likely to be obese, than those living in the least deprived areas, according to official figures.

The figures are revealed in a new report – the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for England – which covers the 2019/20 school year.

According to the report, 13.3% of reception age (4-5 years) children living in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 6.0% of those living in the least deprived areas.

And more than a quarter (27.5%) of Year 6 children aged (10-11 years) living in the most deprived areas were obese, compared to 11.9% of those living in the least deprived areas.

The report contains analyses of Body Mass Index (BMI) classification rates by age, sex and ethnicity as well as geographic analyses.

It shows that obesity has increased among reception age children from 9.7% in 2018-19 to 9.9% in 2019-20.

And in Year 6, it has increased from 20.2% in 2018-19 to 21.0% in 2019-20.

The report also found that boys have a higher obesity prevalence than girls for both age groups.

In reception, 10.1% of boys were obese compared to 9.7% of girls.

While in Year 6, 23.6% of boys were obese compared to 18.4% of girls.

Responding to the figures, the chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth said it was ‘another reminder of the scale of the childhood obesity challenge’ and the need for urgent action and investment in public health in order to reverse this trend.

‘Bolder action is needed, especially to reduce the gap between the most and least deprived. This means increasing targeted services and support for the communities that need it most, ensuring every child has access to healthy food and a healthy lifestyle,’ said Cllr Hudspeth.

‘Councils can help the government meet its target of halving childhood obesity by 2030 with significant additional investment in public health and greater powers to tackle clustering of existing takeaways and to restrict junk food advertising.’

Photo Credit – Stevepb (Pixabay)

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