Nearly half of primary children overweight in parts of the country

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A new map tracking the waistlines of primary school children shows in some local authority areas close to 50 per cent of children are overweight or obese.


The PHE figures show the local authorities with the highest and lowest percentage of overweight children

For the first time, Public Health England (PHE) has mapped the waistlines of four- and five-year-olds and 10 and 11-year- olds using data from local authorities obtained through the National Child Measurement programme.

The figures for 2016/17 show the five areas with the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in Reception (aged four-five years) are:

  • Barrow-in Furness, North West - 31.5 per cent;
  • Carlisle, North West - 31.0 per cent
  • Gravesham, North West - 28.0 per cent
  • Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire and the Humber -  27.9 per cent
  • Boston, East Midlands - 27.8 per cent

The figures for 2016/17 show the London borough of Brent has the biggest percentage (43.9 per cent) of 10 to- 11-year-olds classed as overweight or obese, closely followed by Barking and Dagenham (43.8 per cent).

The figures are nearly twice that of the best performing area - Richmond-upon-Thames, which is just over five miles away, and where 25.2 per cent of children are overweight and obese.

The five areas with the the highest percentage of overweight or obese children in Year 6 (10 -to- 11-year-olds) are:

  • Brent, London - 43.9 per cent;
  • Barking and Dagenham, London - 43.8 per cent;
  • Wolverhampton, West Midlands - 43.2 per cent;
  • Sandwell, West Midlands - 43.1 per cent;
  • Westminster, London - 43.1 per cent.

The five areas with the lowest percentage of overweight or obese children for Year 6 (10- to-11-year-olds) are:

  • Richmond upon Thames, London - 25.2 per cent;
  • Rutland – 25.4 per cent;
  • Brighton and Hove – 25.4 per cent;
  • Wokingham – 26.5 per cent;
  • Surrey – 26.8 per cent.

Professor Neena Modi, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said, ‘These figures are a shocking reflection of the deep inequity within UK society today. The prevalence of obesity in children is almost doubled across areas just 5 miles apart. These figures are also a deep indictment of failure to recognise the life-long health impact of growing up in poverty.

'Government must recognise evidence that could not be clearer; recognise the multifactorial determinants of child obesity, and the appalling life-long consequences, adopt a “child health in all policies” approach, and reap rewards for successive generations; ignore child health and its determinants and the entire nation pays the price.'

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