England’s 10 and 11 year olds are fatter than ever before, damning NHS statistics today revealed.
The severity of the obesity crisis has been laid bare, as figures show more than a third of children in Year Six are overweight or obese.
And almost a quarter, around 150,000 youngsters, were obese or severely obese – a rise of more than a third in 12 years.
The NHS today said the shock figures show the Government is ‘clearly not on track’ in attempts to curb childhood obesity.
Children are more than four times likely to be obese if they live in a poor area, such as Wolverhamptom, compared to a rich area, such as Richmond.
England’s 10 and 11 year olds are fatter than ever before, damning NHS statistics today revealed. Almost a quarter of Year Six children are obese or severely obese
The latest NHS data shows a staggering 24.6 per cent of Year 6 children are either obese (20.2 per cent) or severely obese (4.4 per cent).
The rate of children that are severely obese is the highest rate on record, up from 4.2 per cent in 2017/18 and 3.2 per cent 12 years ago in 2006/7.
Overall, more than a third of Year 6 pupils (34.3 per cent) are overweight or obese. This is 205,923 children.
Children aged four to five are also fatter than they were a decade ago, when the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) began recording data.
Now, 12.1 per cent are either obese (9.7 per cent) or severely obese (2.4 per cent).
Overall, 22.6 per cent of reception class children are overweight or obese, up on the 22.4% the year before.
This amounts to 135,020 children.
NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘These figures show that, as a country, we are clearly not on track to meet the government’s sensible goal of halving childhood obesity.
‘While the NHS will be there for patients, services and budgets will obviously be placed under more strain. So we also need combined action from parents, businesses and government to safeguard our children from this preventable harm.’
‘Obesity is a dangerous public health threat for our children, leading to a string of serious illnesses.’
Mr Stevens comments echo those of Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, who said drastic measures were needed to combat childhood obesity.
In her final report published yesterday, Professor Davies urged the banning of eating food on public transport to prevent ‘mindless snacking’.
She warned that the country is ‘nowhere near’ meeting 2030 ambitions to slash childhood obesity rates by half.
WHERE ARE 10 AREAS WITH THE HIGHEST PREVALENCE OF FAT CHILDREN IN YEAR SIX?
Barking and Dagenham 44.9
Tower Hamlets 41.4
WHERE ARE 10 AREAS WITH THE LOWEST PREVALENCE OF FAT CHILDREN IN YEAR SIX?
Richmond upon Thames 23.4
Bath and North East Somerset 25.6
Brighton and Hove 25.9
North Somerset 27.1
West Berkshire 27.7
Windsor and Maidenhead 28.0
WHERE ARE 10 AREAS WITH THE HIGHEST PREVALENCE OF FAT CHILDREN IN RECEPTION?
Kingston upon Hull 29.4
Redcar and Cleveland 28.8
St. Helens 28.5
Newcastle upon Tyne 27.3
WHERE ARE 10 AREAS WITH THE LOWEST PREVALENCE OF FAT CHILDREN IN RECEPTION?
Kingston upon Thames 15.3
Richmond upon Thames 16.5
Windsor and Maidenhead 16.8
Jo Churchill, Public Health Minister said: ‘These data highlight once again how important it is for us to tackle childhood obesity, which has a devastating impact on the health of our children.’
Caroline Cerny, from the Obesity Health Alliance said: ‘Every child has the right to grow up healthy, but this data shows the stark reality is that children are being overwhelmed by a flood of unhealthy food in our environment.
‘The number of children with a weight classified as severely obese is at an all-time high and this will damage their health now and in the future.
‘It’s time for the Government to bring in the measures that we know will stem the tide of unhealthy food marketing and promotions, starting with the long overdue 9pm watershed on junk food adverts on TV and online.’
The data showed the widening gap between rates of childhood obesity in the most deprived areas compared with the least.
Almost half (44.9 per cent) of all year six children in Barking and Dagenham were considered to be overweight, obese or severely obese in 2018/19.
Four other London boroughs ranked in the top 10: Enfield (42.3 per cent), Brent (41.5 per cent), Greenwich (41.5 per cent) and Tower Hamlets (41.4 per cent).
In contrast, the rate was just 23.4 per cent in Richmond upon Thames, which had the lowest prevalence of obesity among 10 and 11 year olds.
Among reception-aged children, Kingston upon Hull had the highest prevalence of youngsters being overweight (29.4 per cent).
It was followed by Knowsley in Merseyside (29 per cent), Redcar and Cleveland (28.8 per cent) and Blackpool (28.7 per cent).
At the other end of the scale came Kingston upon Thames (15.3 per cent), Richmond upon Thames (16.5 per cent) and Windsor and Maidenhead (16.8 per cent).
|Region and Local Authority||Number||Prevalence|
|Barking and Dagenham||1,547||44.9|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||1,127||40.6|
|Redcar and Cleveland||560||37.4|
|Blackburn with Darwen||799||36.6|
|Telford and Wrekin||784||36.2|
|Kingston upon Hull, City of||1,080||35.7|
|Cheshire West and Chester||1,328||35.3|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||457||35.2|
|North East Lincolnshire||645||34.3|
|Kensington and Chelsea||310||34.3|
|Herefordshire, County of||600||34.1|
|Isle of Wight||388||32.7|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||1,130||32.1|
|Bristol, City of||1,402||31.3|
|Kingston upon Thames||523||28|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||422||28|
|Brighton and Hove||647||25.9|
|Bath and North East Somerset||430||25.6|
|Richmond upon Thames||521||23.4|
WHAT IS OBESITY? AND WHAT ARE ITS HEALTH RISKS?
Obesity is defined as an adult having a BMI of 30 or over.
A healthy person’s BMI – calculated by dividing weight in kg by height in metres, and the answer by the height again – is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Among children, obesity is defined as being in the 95th percentile.
Percentiles compare youngsters to others their same age.
For example, if a three-month-old is in the 40th percentile for weight, that means that 40 per cent of three-month-olds weigh the same or less than that baby.
Around 58 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men in the UK are overweight or obese.
The condition costs the NHS around £6.1billion, out of its approximate £124.7 billion budget, every year.
This is due to obesity increasing a person’s risk of a number of life-threatening conditions.
Such conditions include type 2 diabetes, which can cause kidney disease, blindness and even limb amputations.
Research suggests that at least one in six hospital beds in the UK are taken up by a diabetes patient.
Obesity also raises the risk of heart disease, which kills 315,000 people every year in the UK – making it the number one cause of death.
Carrying dangerous amounts of weight has also been linked to 12 different cancers.
This includes breast, which affects one in eight women at some point in their lives.
Among children, research suggests that 70 per cent of obese youngsters have high blood pressure or raised cholesterol, which puts them at risk of heart disease.
Obese children are also significantly more likely to become obese adults.
And if children are overweight, their obesity in adulthood is often more severe.
As many as one in five children start school in the UK being overweight or obese, which rises to one in three by the time they turn 10.