One in three children leaving primary schools is overweight or obese
Published 15/12/2011 | 09:12
ONE-IN-THREE children leaving primary school is either obese or overweight.
The figures are based on measurements taken from more than one million British children and show that youngsters are getting fatter.
In 2006/7 there were 31.6 per cent of children aged ten and 11 were overweight or obese compared with 33.4 per cent in 2010/11.
Children appear to be getting fat during their school years as the figures show that fewer children were obese or overweight when they started school, according to the NHS data.
The proportion of children starting primary school obese or overweight has dropped from 22.9 per cent in 2006/7 to 22.6 per cent in 2010/11.
The figures raise questions over the success of healthy school dinner campaigns popularised by Jamie Oliver and school exercise programmes.
Boys were fatter than girls in both age groups with 23.9 per cent of boys obese or overweight at age four and five compared with 21.3 per cent of girls.
While at age ten and 11, 34.9 per cent of boys were obese or overweight compared with 31.8 per cent of girls.
Children tended to be fatter in urban and deprived areas, the figures revealed.
Tim Straughan, Chief Executive of the NHS Information Centre which collected the data, said: “More than one million children in England are measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme, which shows today that while the proportion of four-to-five year olds who are obese has fallen, the opposite has happened among 10 and 11-year-olds.
“This means that while fewer than one in 10 children in Reception Year are obese; for children in their final year of primary school this prevalence is nearly one in every five.”
Paul Sacher, paediatric dietitian and chief research officer at MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!), an organisation that provides weight management programmes for families, said: “With childhood obesity levels rising, it is hugely concerning that not nearly enough is being done to turn the tide on this very serious health epidemic.