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A third of England’s 10 and 11 year olds are overweight, reveals shocking new figures

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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 were overweight or obese in 2018/19.

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 third of Year Six children were overweight or obese in 2018/19

England’s 10 and 11 year olds are fatter than ever before, damning NHS statistics today revealed. Almost a third of Year Six children were overweight or obese in 2018/19

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).

In 2006/2007, this figure was just…    

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

Wolverhampton 44.4

Hartlepool 43.7

Knowsley 43.0

Newham 42.9

Sandwell 42.4

Enfield 42.3

Brent 41.5

Greenwich 41.5

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

Surrey 25.7

Brighton and Hove 25.9

Wokingham 26.4

Devon 27.0

North Somerset 27.1

Cambridgeshire 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

Knowsley 29.0

Redcar and Cleveland 28.8

Blackpool 28.7

St. Helens 28.5

Liverpool 27.8

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Newcastle upon Tyne 27.3

Wolverhampton 27.2

Halton 27.1

Sefton 26.9

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

Surrey 16.9

Wandsworth 17.4

Cambridgeshire 17.8

Harrow 17.9

Buckinghamshire 18.2

Wokingham 18.6

Poole 19.0

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). 

WHERE ARE CHILDREN IN YEAR SIX THE MOST OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE?
Region and Local Authority Number Prevalence
Barking and Dagenham 1,547 44.9
Wolverhampton 1,433 44.4
Hartlepool 499 43.7
Knowsley 733 43
Newham 1,991 42.9
Sandwell 1,964 42.4
Enfield 1,851 42.3
Brent 1,530 41.5
Greenwich 1,375 41.5
Tower Hamlets 1,302 41.4
Manchester 2,516 41
Birmingham 6,284 40.7
Walsall 1,492 40.7
Newcastle upon Tyne 1,127 40.6
Slough 932 40.4
Hackney1 1,001 40.1
Halton 602 39.9
Luton 1,289 39.9
Southwark 1,235 39.9
Middlesbrough 719 39.8
Redbridge 1,589 39.8
Blackpool 605 39.5
Hounslow 1,259 39.5
Stoke-on-Trent 1,203 39.5
Dudley 1,470 39.4
Liverpool 1,980 39.4
Islington 698 39.3
Sunderland 1,227 39.2
Nottingham 1,332 39.2
Hillingdon 1,490 39.1
Westminster 511 38.9
Croydon 1,690 38.8
Ealing 1,620 38.7
Bradford 2,712 38.4
Rochdale 1,133 38.2
Waltham Forest 1,219 38.2
Coventry 1,642 38.2
Haringey 1,099 38.1
Gateshead 747 38.1
Darlington 447 38
Thurrock 890 37.8
Leicester 1,756 37.7
Wakefield 1,380 37.7
South Tyneside 601 37.7
County Durham 2,100 37.6
Bexley 1,189 37.6
Wigan 1,332 37.4
Oldham 1,174 37.4
Redcar and Cleveland 560 37.4
Lambeth 1,076 37.2
Rotherham 1,192 37.2
Salford 1,073 37.1
Derby 1,216 37
Peterborough 1,025 36.9
St. Helens 749 36.9
Blackburn with Darwen 799 36.6
Portsmouth 775 36.4
Medway 1,183 36.4
Havering 1,071 36.4
Harrow 1,052 36.2
Telford and Wrekin 784 36.2
Lewisham 1,177 36.2
Tameside 980 36.2
Southampton 939 36
Bedford 747 35.7
Kingston upon Hull, City of 1,080 35.7
Leeds 3,117 35.6
Doncaster 1,318 35.6
Sutton 829 35.5
Camden 505 35.5
North Tyneside 821 35.5
Kirklees 1,922 35.5
Lincolnshire 2,781 35.4
Sefton 990 35.4
Cheshire West and Chester 1,328 35.3
Torbay 464 35.3
Hammersmith and Fulham 457 35.2
Bolton 1,348 35.1
Barnet 1,440 35
Sheffield 2,165 35
Stockton-on-Tees 844 34.9
Bury 778 34.9
Staffordshire 3,082 34.8
Barnsley 933 34.7
Milton Keynes 1,180 34.5
Calderdale 917 34.5
North Lincolnshire 651 34.4
Lancashire 4,579 34.4
North East Lincolnshire 645 34.3
Kensington and Chelsea 310 34.3
Herefordshire, County of 600 34.1
Wirral 1,189 34
Reading 607 34
Wandsworth 775 33.6
Cumbria 1,675 33.6
Merton 770 33.5
Swindon 875 33.5
Warrington 844 33.4
Southend-on-Sea 656 33
Worcestershire 1,912 32.8
Norfolk 2,870 32.8
Isle of Wight 388 32.7
Warwickshire 1,953 32.6
Northamptonshire 2,626 32.4
Cheshire East 1,243 32.4
Northumberland 1,074 32.4
Derbyshire 2,681 32.3
Kent 5,336 32.2
Plymouth 836 32.2
East Riding of Yorkshire 1,130 32.1
Solihull 794 32
Gloucestershire 2,098 31.9
Nottinghamshire 2,794 31.7
Trafford 908 31.6
Somerset 1,588 31.5
Essex 4,953 31.4
Stockport 1,028 31.3
Bristol, City of 1,402 31.3
Bromley 1,118 31.1
Bournemouth 529 30.8
North Yorkshire 1,684 30.7
Hampshire 4,288 30.5
York 587 30.4
Suffolk 2,281 30.3
Leicestershire 2,203 30.2
Shropshire 814 30.1
Poole 415 29.8
Cornwall1 1,507 29.6
Buckinghamshire 1,702 29.4
Dorset 1,149 28.9
Rutland 107 28.8
Hertfordshire 3,671 28.6
Oxfordshire 1,981 28.6
Central Bedfordshire 937 28.5
East Sussex 1,477 28.3
South Gloucestershire 866 28.2
Bracknell Forest 381 28.2
West Sussex 2,344 28.1
Wiltshire 1,388 28.1
Kingston upon Thames 523 28
Windsor and Maidenhead 422 28
West Berkshire 507 27.7
Cambridgeshire 1,727 27.1
North Somerset 568 27.1
Devon 1,738 27
Wokingham 532 26.4
Brighton and Hove 647 25.9
Surrey 2,875 25.7
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.  

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