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Half of school children are overweight in parts of Britain

Nearly half of primary school children are dangerously overweight in some parts of the country, according to official figures.

Public Health England has for the first time mapped the waistlines of 10 and 11 year olds using data from local authorities.

The figures revealed that there is one ‘severely obese’ child for every classroom in the country.

The data shows a clear link between obesity and social deprivation – with the best and worst areas in the country being just five miles apart.  

Paediatricians warn the map is evidence that successive Governments have failed to tackle childhood obesity, fueling ‘appalling life-long consequences’. 

It comes after it was revealed that an obese 12-year-old girl has been taken from her mother after doctors found her BMI is at a ‘dangerously high level’.

The data shows that 44 per cent of 11 year olds in the north London borough of Brent are either overweight or obese – the worst region in England.

The figure is almost double that of the slimmest borough (25 per cent), Richmond-upon-Thames, which sits just five miles away.  

Data from the National Child Measurement Programme for England, released in October, showed 31.5 per cent of reception-aged children were overweight in Barrow-in-Furness

Successive governments have failed to tackle childhood obesity, according to senior paediatricians (stock image)

Successive governments have failed to tackle childhood obesity, according to senior paediatricians (stock image)

But even in the affluent area in south west London, a quarter of children are still overweight or obese by the time they start secondary school.

Barking and Dagenham, Westminster, Wolverhampton and Sandwell are also bad offenders, according to the data.  

Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), blasted the PHE statistics.

She told The Daily Telegraph: ‘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 five miles apart.’

‘These figures are a deep indictment of failure to recognise the lifelong health impact of growing up in poverty. 

‘Government must recognise evidence that could not be clearer, recognise the multi-factorial determinants of child obesity and the appalling lifelong consequences.’

Professor Modi added that a ‘child health in all policies’ approach needs to be adopted to reap rewards for ‘successive generations’.   

She told the newspaper: ‘Ignore child health and its determinants and the entire nation pays its price.’ 

THE 10 WORST AREAS FOR OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE CHILDREN AGED 10 AND 11 (PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND DATA)
Area  % overweight or obese 
Brent, London 43.9
Barking and Dagenham, London  43.8 
Wolverhampton, West Midlands  43.2 
Sandwell, West Midlands  43.1 
Westminster, London  43.1 
Southwark, London  43.0 
Greenwich, London  42.7 
Newham, London  42.7 
Tower Hamlets, London  42.5 
Knowsley, Merseyside  42.2 
THE 10 BEST AREAS FOR OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE CHILDREN AGED 10 AND 11 (PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND DATA)
Area  % overweight or obese 
Richmond upon Thames 25.2
Rutland  25.4 
Brighton and Hove  25.4 
Wokingham  26.5 
Surrey  26.8 
Cambridgeshire  27.1 
Buckinghamshire  27.2 
South Gloucestershire  27.3 
Bath and North East Somerset  27.6 
North Somerset  27.9 

The body is campaigning for a ban on advertising of junk foods before the watershed on TV, and a crack-down on new fast food outlets opening near schools.

Campaigners have repeatedly backed calls for such measures, with leading groups warning that addressing childhood obesity needs urgent action.

It is hoped tougher laws would help to crack down on the rising rates of childhood obesity, which have continued to soar in recent years.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, told the newspaper: ‘Obesity inevitably follows deprivation. 

‘The young of affluent parents in Richmond-upon-Thames may have a weight problem, but poverty and fast food will ensure that Brent’s inner-city kids remain alarmingly obese.’  

And in October, the country’s chief nutritionist warned that parents are overfeeding their children and consigning them to a lifetime of obesity.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said at the time: ‘The evidence shows that children are being fed more than they require.

‘They are having a few more calories every day than they need. It builds up over time. 

‘Children are living in households with parents who have an obesity problem themselves, so there are ingrained obesity habits.

‘People tend to underestimate the amount of calories they are eating, and I suspect they underestimate how much their children are eating as well.’  

Her comments were fuelled by NHS Digital data that revealed 22.6 per cent of youngsters aged around five and in the very first year of school are overweight or obese.

It was a jump on the 22.1 per cent recorded in 2015/16, and is slowly creeping towards the record high set a decade ago (22.9 per cent).

HAVE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO CURB CHILDHOOD OBESITY BEEN WATERED DOWN?

Government plans 

The Government came under intense pressure over its childhood obesity plan, released in August 2016, which campaigners argue was heavily watered down. 

Curbs on junk food advertising and restrictions on unhealthy product placement in supermarkets were among measures cut from a draft of strategy, it was claimed.

A first draft of the plan leaked to Channel 4’s Dispatches was alleged to contain a pledge to halve the number of overweight children by 2026.

This, producers said, was changed to a pledge to ‘significantly reduce’ the number of overweight children when the full strategy was published last August.

But have they been watered down? 

Among other proposals removed from the final strategy were supposedly plans to force restaurants, cafes and takeaways to put calorie information on menus.

Supermarkets would have been forced to remove junk food from around check-outs and the end of aisles and junk-food advertising would have been curbed.

The final strategy did include a ‘sugar tax’ on the soft drinks industry, which has since prompted many manufacturers to slash their levels.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in 2015 that he would ensure the ‘great scandal’ of childhood obesity was one of his main priorities. 

The RCPCH warned last week that 80 per cent of overweight children will continue to be a dangerous weight in adulthood.

It said failure to tackle their bulging waistlines would, on average, cut a decade off their life expectancy and leave them spending 20 years in ill health. 

Obesity in childhood can light the fuse for a lifetime of deadly ailments, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and several forms of cancer. 

The warning was issued on the back of a RCPCH survey, which revealed 32.4 per cent of primary school children are now overweight or obese.

This is a significant rise from the 30 per cent that was recorded in 2006/07, with boys still more likely to be fat than girls. 

The new PHE figures showed that 5 per cent of boys are classed as severely obese by the time they finish primary school, compared to 3.3 per cent of girls.

A stark divide was also noticed between ethnic groups, with children of a black Caribbean descent three times as likely as white children to be severely obese.

Children and weighed and measured twice, in reception and at the end of primary school, as part of a Government programme.

Their BMI is then compared to statistics to determine if they are overweight, with those above the 91st centile being classed as such.

Obese is considered above the 98th centile and severely obese is above the 99.6th centile. 

The new figures come after it emerged last week that a school child has been taken away from her mother after doctors found her BMI is at a ‘dangerously high level’.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken into foster care when medical and social staff started to fear for her safety.

Her mother could lose custody of her after the local council took out legal action against her. 

WHERE ARE THE FATTEST RECEPTION-AGED CHILDREN IN THE UK?
LOCATION OF CHILDREN PERCENTAGE OF OVERWEIGHT PERCENTAGE OF OBESE TOTAL FAT CHILDREN
NORTH EAST 13.8 10.7 24.5
County Durham 13.8 10.3 24.1
Darlington 14.4 10.6 25.0
Gateshead 12.5 9.6 22.0
Hartlepool 13.6 12.6 26.2
Middlesbrough 15.6 12.0 27.6
Newcastle upon Tyne 12.9 11.9 24.9
North Tyneside 15.0 9.8 24.8
Northumberland 13.8 10.5 24.3
Redcar and Cleveland 15.6 11.5 27.1
South Tyneside 11.5 11.3 22.8
Stockton-on-Tees 14.2 10.7 24.8
Sunderland 13.1 10.0 23.1
NORTH WEST 13.6 10.3 23.9
Blackburn with Darwen 13.0 10.6 23.5
Blackpool 15.7 10.0 25.7
Bolton 11.5 10.4 21.9
Bury 13.4 10.5 24.0
Cheshire East 11.9 7.3 19.2
Cheshire West and Chester 12.4 8.3 20.6
Cumbria 16.3 11.9 28.2
Allerdale 15.1 13.0 28.1
Barrow-in-Furness 17.1 14.4 31.5
Carlisle 18.2 12.8 31.0
Copeland 15.2 11.8 27.0
Eden 15.2 7.8 23.0
South Lakeland 15.4 9.9 25.4
Halton 15.8 10.8 26.6
Knowsley 14.5 12.7 27.2
Liverpool 14.2 12.6 26.8
Lancashire 13.8 9.6 23.5
Burnley 13.8 11.8 25.6
Chorley 15.1 8.2 23.3
Fylde 10.0 5.6 15.6
Hyndburn 15.2 12.0 27.2
Lancaster 15.9 10.8 26.7
Pendle 13.0 9.2 22.2
Preston 11.9 8.8 20.7
Ribble Valley 14.2 7.9 22.1
Rossendale 13.3 9.4 22.7
South Ribble 13.1 9.2 22.3
West Lancashire 16.4 10.4 26.8
Wyre 12.9 10.1 22.9
Manchester 13.1 11.7 24.8
Oldham 12.2 10.2 22.5
Rochdale 12.8 10.7 23.6
Salford 13.1 11.2 24.3
Sefton 14.6 10.4 24.9
St. Helens 15.4 11.4 26.9
Stockport 13.7 9.3 23.0
Tameside 12.8 11.0 23.8
Trafford 12.1 7.6 19.7
Warrington 12.7 9.2 21.9
Wigan 13.9 9.6 23.5
Wirral 14.9 10.8 25.6
YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER 12.5 9.7 22.2
Barnsley 8.9 7.9 16.8
Bradford 12.1 10.4 22.5
Calderdale 12.4 8.9 21.3
Doncaster 13.1 9.9 23.0
East Riding of Yorkshire 10.3 7.9 18.2
Kingston upon Hull, City of 14.9 13.0 27.9
Kirklees 12.2 9.9 22.1
Leeds 12.6 8.5 21.1
North East Lincolnshire 12.7 11.1 23.8
North Lincolnshire 14.2 10.1 24.3
North Yorkshire 12.2 8.9 21.2
Craven 13.1 7.8 20.9
Hambleton 13.6 8.5 22.1
Harrogate 11.5 7.6 19.0
Richmondshire 11.5 10.2 21.7
Ryedale 13.5 7.8 21.3
Scarborough 13.7 10.7 24.4
Selby 10.0 10.2 20.2
Rotherham 12.4 11.5 23.9
Sheffield 12.7 9.6 22.3
Wakefield 14.1 11.1 25.2
York 12.3 8.5 20.8
EAST MIDLANDS 13.3 9.5 22.7
Derby 13.3 10.1 23.5
Derbyshire 13.7 10.0 23.7
Amber Valley 12.9 9.8 22.7
Bolsover 12.8 11.4 24.2
Chesterfield 14.3 11.0 25.3
Derbyshire Dales 14.2 7.9 22.1
Erewash 12.8 9.5 22.3
High Peak 15.2 9.6 24.8
North East Derbyshire 13.0 10.4 23.3
South Derbyshire 15.0 9.5 24.5
Leicester 11.1 10.1 21.2
Leicestershire 12.3 7.9 20.3
Blaby 11.3 7.7 19.0
Charnwood 12.3 8.1 20.4
Harborough 13.7 8.2 21.9
Hinckley and Bosworth 12.4 8.3 20.6
Melton 13.5 8.5 22.0
North West Leicestershire 12.0 7.5 19.5
Oadby and Wigston 11.6 7.2 18.8
Lincolnshire 14.5 10.1 24.6
Boston 15.1 12.7 27.8
East Lindsey 14.3 11.7 26.0
Lincoln 14.1 11.2 25.3
North Kesteven 14.9 6.8 21.7
South Holland 13.8 9.9 23.7
South Kesteven 14.3 10.3 24.6
West Lindsey 15.0 8.7 23.7
Northamptonshire 13.3 8.8 22.1
Corby 14.4 10.8 25.2
Daventry 14.9 5.5 20.4
East Northamptonshire 11.8 7.7 19.5
Kettering 14.2 11.0 25.2
Northampton 13.5 9.6 23.1
South Northamptonshire 12.2 5.6 17.8
Wellingborough 11.9 10.0 21.9
Nottingham 14.2 11.9 26.0
Nottinghamshire 13.2 8.6 21.8
Ashfield 15.0 9.1 24.1
Bassetlaw 13.4 9.9 23.3
Broxtowe 10.5 8.0 18.4
Gedling 14.3 8.0 22.3
Mansfield 12.7 10.0 22.7
Newark and Sherwood 15.2 9.7 24.9
Rushcliffe 10.5 5.1 15.6
Rutland 15.2 8.8 24.0
WEST MIDLANDS 13.4 10.7 24.2
Birmingham 13.2 11.5 24.7
Coventry 12.8 10.1 22.9
Dudley 15.3 11.7 26.9
Herefordshire, County of 13.2 9.8 22.9
Sandwell 12.0 12.1 24.1
Shropshire 13.2 8.6 21.8
Solihull 11.5 6.9 18.4
Staffordshire 14.5 10.3 24.9
Cannock Chase 16.2 11.4 27.6
East Staffordshire 13.7 10.2 23.8
Lichfield 15.0 8.9 23.9
Newcastle-under-Lyme 14.8 11.9 26.7
South Staffordshire 13.5 11.2 24.7
Stafford 13.3 8.4 21.7
Staffordshire Moorlands 14.6 9.8 24.4
Tamworth 15.7 11.0 26.7
Stoke-on-Trent 12.6 11.2 23.8
Telford and Wrekin 13.3 11.4 24.8
Walsall 13.2 12.6 25.8
Warwickshire 13.5 9.3 22.8
North Warwickshire 13.1 11.3 24.3
Nuneaton and Bedworth 14.1 10.2 24.3
Rugby 12.7 8.2 21.0
Stratford-on-Avon 15.4 7.1 22.5
Warwick 12.4 9.9 22.2
Wolverhampton 14.3 13.5 27.8
Worcestershire 14.1 9.5 23.6
Bromsgrove 12.9 6.5 19.5
Malvern Hills 14.4 8.2 22.6
Redditch 13.9 10.9 24.8
Worcester 12.6 8.8 21.4
Wychavon 14.4 11.5 25.8
Wyre Forest 16.4 10.6 27.0
EAST OF ENGLAND 12.5 8.6 21.1
Bedford 11.4 9.0 20.4
Cambridgeshire 11.2 7.4 18.5
Cambridge 10.5 6.3 16.9
East Cambridgeshire 10.4 6.5 16.9
Fenland 11.1 9.0 20.2
Huntingdonshire 12.0 7.7 19.7
South Cambridgeshire 11.1 7.1 18.2
Central Bedfordshire 12.4 8.0 20.4
Essex 12.5 8.5 20.9
Basildon 11.2 8.7 19.9
Braintree 13.2 8.6 21.8
Brentwood 12.6 7.8 20.5
Castle Point 13.0 10.6 23.5
Chelmsford 13.7 8.0 21.6
Colchester 11.9 7.6 19.5
Epping Forest 11.4 9.1 20.6
Harlow 12.7 9.0 21.7
Maldon 13.9 11.0 24.8
Rochford 12.9 7.1 20.1
Tendring 12.8 8.9 21.7
Uttlesford 12.0 6.4 18.4
Hertfordshire 12.0 8.0 20.0
Broxbourne 13.1 9.4 22.5
Dacorum 12.6 9.3 21.9
East Hertfordshire 12.8 6.5 19.3
Hertsmere 11.0 9.5 20.5
North Hertfordshire 11.4 8.1 19.5
St. Albans 10.3 6.0 16.3
Stevenage 12.9 8.1 21.0
Three Rivers 12.8 7.9 20.7
Watford 11.0 9.4 20.4
Welwyn Hatfield 12.6 7.3 19.9
Luton 11.0 11.6 22.6
Norfolk 13.5 9.2 22.7
Breckland 14.5 8.1 22.6
Broadland 12.8 7.7 20.5
Great Yarmouth 14.7 12.2 26.9
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk 14.7 9.3 24.1
North Norfolk 13.9 10.0 23.9
Norwich 12.5 9.0 21.5
South Norfolk 11.9 8.9 20.9
Peterborough 14.3 8.9 23.2
Southend-on-Sea 13.2 8.2 21.4
Suffolk 13.5 8.8 22.3
Babergh 13.4 7.6 21.0
Forest Heath 12.8 7.2 20.0
Ipswich 13.2 9.8 23.0
Mid Suffolk 12.4 8.1 20.6
St. Edmundsbury 14.3 9.3 23.6
Suffolk Coastal 12.2 7.8 20.0
Waveney 15.4 10.0 25.4
Thurrock 11.9 10.2 22.1
LONDON 12.1 10.3 22.3
Barking and Dagenham 12.4 13.1 25.5
Barnet 10.3 9.1 19.5
Bexley 14.4 12.3 26.7
Brent 14.3 13.3 27.6
Bromley 12.7 7.6 20.3
Camden 10.9 10.0 21.0
Croydon 13.1 10.6 23.7
Ealing 10.3 8.6 18.8
Enfield 13.4 11.4 24.8
Greenwich 12.5 11.7 24.1
Hackney2 12.4 12.7 25.1
Hammersmith and Fulham 12.3 9.2 21.5
Haringey 11.7 9.9 21.6
Harrow 9.8 8.6 18.4
Havering 14.2 10.9 25.1
Hillingdon 11.2 9.3 20.5
Hounslow 10.7 10.6 21.3
Islington 12.3 10.5 22.8
Kensington and Chelsea 13.6 7.5 21.1
Kingston upon Thames 10.3 4.8 15.0
Lambeth 14.0 10.4 24.4
Lewisham 12.2 10.0 22.2
Merton 12.5 8.8 21.2
Newham 11.1 12.2 23.3
Redbridge 11.3 11.6 22.9
Richmond upon Thames 11.3 5.2 16.5
Southwark 13.1 13.3 26.3
Sutton 10.8 6.6 17.4
Tower Hamlets 11.1 12.1 23.2
Waltham Forest 11.8 9.8 21.5
Wandsworth 11.0 7.2 18.2
Westminster 14.6 10.1 24.7
SOUTH EAST 12.9 8.5 21.4
Bracknell Forest 12.1 7.1 19.2
Brighton and Hove 11.5 6.9 18.4
Buckinghamshire 11.5 6.5 18.0
Aylesbury Vale 10.6 6.6 17.2
Chiltern 10.3 6.0 16.3
South Bucks 13.7 5.9 19.6
Wycombe 12.4 6.7 19.1
East Sussex 13.7 9.6 23.3
Eastbourne 13.1 10.7 23.7
Hastings 13.2 10.8 24.1
Lewes 14.3 9.3 23.5
Rother 13.7 9.7 23.4
Wealden 14.0 8.1 22.1
Hampshire 14.4 8.6 23.0
Basingstoke and Deane 13.6 9.5 23.1
East Hampshire 14.6 7.6 22.2
Eastleigh 12.5 8.4 20.8
Fareham 16.3 7.1 23.4
Gosport 15.0 9.3 24.4
Hart 13.6 5.9 19.5
Havant 17.5 10.6 28.2
New Forest 13.5 10.4 23.9
Rushmoor 14.9 10.6 25.5
Test Valley 14.2 6.7 20.9
Winchester 13.6 7.3 20.9
Isle of Wight 13.4 8.7 22.1
Kent 14.1 10.3 24.4
Ashford 14.8 10.8 25.7
Canterbury 9.8 9.7 19.5
Dartford 13.4 11.5 24.9
Dover 14.1 11.5 25.6
Gravesham 15.5 12.5 28.0
Maidstone 14.2 9.7 23.9
Sevenoaks 15.3 10.1 25.5
Shepway 15.2 9.6 24.8
Swale 12.0 8.9 21.0
Thanet 15.7 10.9 26.7
Tonbridge and Malling 14.0 9.5 23.5
Tunbridge Wells 16.2 8.8 25.0
Medway 12.3 10.2 22.6
Milton Keynes 13.4 9.7 23.0
Oxfordshire 12.6 7.0 19.6
Cherwell 12.6 6.9 19.4
Oxford 12.3 8.6 20.9
South Oxfordshire 12.1 6.1 18.2
Vale of White Horse 13.1 6.9 20.0
West Oxfordshire 13.1 6.7 19.8
Portsmouth 13.5 10.7 24.2
Reading 13.2 9.6 22.9
Slough 10.7 10.4 21.1
Southampton 13.1 10.2 23.3
Surrey 11.2 6.2 17.3
Elmbridge 11.2 5.4 16.7
Epsom and Ewell 11.3 4.6 15.9
Guildford 10.6 5.9 16.6
Mole Valley 12.2 5.6 17.8
Reigate and Banstead 11.4 6.9 18.3
Runnymede 11.8 7.9 19.7
Spelthorne 12.6 6.9 19.5
Surrey Heath 11.6 7.0 18.6
Tandridge 10.7 5.5 16.2
Waverley 9.4 5.3 14.7
Woking 10.6 6.6 17.2
West Berkshire 12.6 8.5 21.1
West Sussex 12.5 8.0 20.5
Adur 13.4 7.4 20.8
Arun 12.8 9.7 22.5
Chichester 12.4 5.7 18.2
Crawley 11.9 9.5 21.4
Horsham 12.7 6.5 19.2
Mid Sussex 10.3 6.5 16.8
Worthing 15.2 10.2 25.4
Windsor and Maidenhead 10.5 6.6 17.1
Wokingham 11.8 6.0 17.8
SOUTH WEST 14.2 8.8 23.1
Bath and North East Somerset 14.7 8.8 23.5
Bournemouth 12.3 8.4 20.7
Bristol, City of 14.5 9.7 24.2
Cornwall2 16.7 10.0 26.7
Devon 14.5 8.3 22.7
East Devon 13.3 9.0 22.3
Exeter 12.2 7.7 19.8
Mid Devon 16.4 7.8 24.2
North Devon 15.7 8.7 24.3
South Hams 14.0 6.8 20.9
Teignbridge 15.7 7.9 23.6
Torridge 15.0 10.3 25.4
West Devon 14.0 7.9 21.9
Dorset 13.1 8.0 21.1
Christchurch 14.8 7.3 22.2
East Dorset 12.4 7.2 19.6
North Dorset 13.0 7.8 20.8
Purbeck 14.5 8.7 23.2
West Dorset 12.6 8.4 20.9
Weymouth and Portland 12.3 9.1 21.4
Gloucestershire 15.1 9.2 24.3
Cheltenham 14.7 9.2 23.9
Cotswold 14.1 6.4 20.5
Forest of Dean 15.8 9.2 25.0
Gloucester 15.6 11.5 27.1
Stroud 15.7 8.5 24.2
Tewkesbury 14.3 8.2 22.4
North Somerset 15.2 8.8 23.9
Plymouth 15.3 11.0 26.3
Poole 12.3 6.9 19.2
Somerset 13.6 8.7 22.3
Mendip 13.2 7.3 20.5
Sedgemoor 15.0 10.8 25.8
South Somerset 13.0 8.9 21.9
Taunton Deane 13.9 7.5 21.4
West Somerset 10.7 9.7 20.3
South Gloucestershire 10.9 7.4 18.3
Swindon 13.4 9.6 23.0
Torbay 15.8 8.5 24.3
Wiltshire 13.4 8.1 21.5



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