Obesity hits one in 25 primary school children

Pearl Mccarthy
June 1, 2018

More than 22,000 kids in England and Wales aged 10 and 11 are severely obese when they leave primary school, a report by the Local Government Association (LGA) warned Tuesday.

"Obesity rates are highest for children from the most disadvantaged communities and this unacceptable health inequality has widened every year since records began".

This is the first time the national child measurement programme data has included the severely obese category.

In reception classes 14,787 children were classed as severely obese, 2.35 per cent of the total.

They are also calling for further reforms, such as "councils having a say in how and where the soft drinks levy is spent, better labelling on food and drink products, and for councils to be given powers to ban junk food advertising near schools", Sky News reports.

A spokesperson said: "Brent Council and our partners take tackling childhood obesity very seriously, and we are committed to reducing childhood obesity as part of a borough-wide strategy to improve the health and well-being of all children and young people in Brent".

"We remain of the view that measures such as a 9pm watershed would be ineffective in tackling the complex root causes of childhood obesity which are linked to a whole range of factors, including socio-economic background, ethnicity and educational attainment", he said.

In adults, a BMI of 40 or above means a person is severely obese.

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"The UK is already the most obese nation in western Europe, with one in three 10 and 11-year-olds and one in five four and five-year-olds classed as overweight or obese, respectively".

Government needs to further help reduce childhood obesity by introducing tougher restrictions on the marketing and advertising of junk food, including by bringing in a 9pm advertising watershed.

Severe obesity rates are highest in children living in the most deprived towns and cities, and those from BME groups, which the LGA suggested shows a need for more targeted interventions.

Childhood obesity is an ongoing issue with chefs, Jamie Oliver [VIDEO] and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstail pushing for more to be done to combat childhood obesity when they met with the Health and Social Care Committee in London earlier this month.

Obesity increases the risk of developing "diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer", says The Daily Telegraph, and "can also shorten a person's life by 10 years", a loss equivalent to lifelong smoking.

The report called for "government funding for local authorities to make available effective interventions to support families with pre-school children most at risk of obesity".

"We've always said that our 2016 plan was the start of the conversation, not the final word on obesity".

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