9th Mar, 2021

Latest figures show childhood obesity is on the rise in Worcestershire

Redditch Editorial 23rd Oct, 2017

FIGURES revealed by Public Health England (PHE) show that 34.1 per cent of Year 6 children in Worcestershire are overweight or obese.

That is up by 1.3 per cent on last year.

The statistics for this year are also similar to the national picture of 34.2 per cent this year.

The data is taken from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), which determines the weight of children in Reception Year (aged 4-5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10-11 years) in schools across the country.

In some areas, children’s weight status is shared with their parents to help them understand their child’s growth and consider positive lifestyle changes.

Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from poor self-esteem, bullying and tooth decay in childhood.

They are also more likely to be overweight or obese adults, which can lead to a range of preventable illnesses including heart disease, type two diabetes and some cancers.

As well as causing avoidable suffering to millions nationwide, obesity is putting our health and care systems under increasing financial strain.

Coun John Smith, cabinet Member with responsibility for health and well-being, said: “Childhood obesity is a concerning issue across England.

“Obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely, with proven links to cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and tackling it while young will save lives.

“A healthy weight in childhood lays the foundations for decades of healthy life as an adult.

“This data underlines how important it is for families to talk about health and weight as part of everyday life.

“Everyone needs to play their part to help reduce levels of obesity. Individuals and families need to ensure that healthy weight is achieved and maintained through healthy eating and increasing exercise.

Coun Smith added: “The county council is working with organisations across the county  including the NHS, schools, councils and voluntary groups to help people achieve a healthy weight.

“PHE’s Change4Life campaign is also helping millions of families to make healthier choices through meal swap suggestions and the Be Food Smart app, to identify the sugar, salt and fat in food.

“It also supports schools to help them embed healthier habits into everyday school life.”

The stats also show:

•         23.4 per cent of Reception Year children in Worcestershire are overweight or obese in 2016/17 compared to 23.3 per cent in 2015/16. This is higher than the national picture  of 22.6 per cent in 2016/17.

•         There is a sizable gap between the richest and poorest in Worcestershire in 2016/17 with 39.3 per cent of Year 6 children overweight or obese in the most deprived areas, compared to 29.8 per cent in the least deprived. The equivalent figures for Reception Year are 26.5 per cent (most deprived) and 19.3 per cent (least deprived).

•         Public Health England (PHE) is tackling childhood obesity through its world-leading sugar and calorie reduction programmes.

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