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Alarm as child obesity grows

Thursday December 15th, 2011

Obesity rates among England's 11-year-olds continue to rise, according to figures published yesterday.

In London more than one in five of these children are classified as obese - while nationally 19 per cent are, according to the latest figures.

The figures come from the National Child Measurement Programme introduced five years ago - when 17.5 per cent of 11-year-olds were found to be obese.

Although weight problems are growing among primary school leavers, the figures show a reduction in problems among children starting school at the age of four.

The increasing rate of obesity comes in spite of a series of national campaigns aimed at tackling the problem.

Tracy Parker, of the British Heart Foundation - which runs a Food4Thought campaign, described the findings as "really sad".

She said: "It is a shame that even more of our children are finishing primary school obese.

"It has been shown obese children are more likely to become obese adults. And obesity in adults is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  We’ve got to realise that children’s food and lifestyle choices today could have long term consequences on their future health."

The NHS Information Centre, which published the figures, said obesity was greatest in deprived and urban areas. Some one per cent of school-starters were found to be underweight - and 1.3 per cent of those leaving primary school.

Tim Straughan, centre chief executive, 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."

Tags: Child Health | Diabetes | Diet & Food | Fitness | Heart Health | UK News

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