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Obesity rates grow among 11-year-olds

Friday November 27th, 2015

The number of children who are obese when they leave primary school in England continues to increase, according to figures published yesterday.

The statistics, for the first time, show a slight decline in obesity rates among infants entering the school system at reception stage.

Some 19.1% of children in the school year 6 - the usual age for leaving primary school - were obese, the National Child Measurement Programme found.

This compared with 17.5% when the programme began in 2006.

At reception level the proportion of obese children was 9.1% - compared with 9.9% in 2006.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre, which published the figures, said children in the most deprived areas are twice as likely to be obese as those in the wealthiest areas.

In the London borough of Southwark, some 27.8% of primary school-leavers were obese.

Paul Niblett, from the centre, said: “It is pleasing to see that obesity prevalence for Reception Year children is the lowest to be recorded by the National Child Measurement Programme."

Campaigners said the level of obesity in primary schools was "simply unacceptable."

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Without a robust plan to tackle this issue, obesity rates will not fall, putting future generations at risk of deadly conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

“The Government urgently needs to introduce a range of measures including a 9pm watershed ban on junk food marketing as well as greater restrictions on online advertising. This would support parents and families to protect their children’s health."

Alison Cox, from Cancer Research UK, said: “These numbers are alarming. There’s an urgent need for the Government to tackle obesity, starting with junk food marketing which we know influences what food children prefer.

"To prevent the next generation becoming obese the Government must act immediately to ban junk food ads before 9pm as part of a comprehensive children’s obesity strategy to help prevent thousands of cancer cases.”

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

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