The Guardian is reporting that David Cameron has announced children of primary school age are to be the focus of an anti-obesity strategy to be unveiled this autumn.
The prime minister has already held talks in Downing Street with the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, the chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies, the public health minister Jane Ellison and leading health economists to map out the central themes of the strategy…
Cameron told reporters: “It is disturbing that 10% of children go to school obese, but 20% are coming out of school obese, so it is this primary school period where we really can do better.
“That is why I have tasked the department of health, the department of education, Jamie Oliver and others to look at this period and think about what can we do better…”
Officials fear that by the time children reach 12 their lifestyles may be set, so it is critical to intervene with parents and their offspring at a young age. Figures published in March by the Health & Social Care Information Centre show 9.5% of reception class children aged four to five were obese. This marks a slight rise from 9.3% in the previous year, but is lower than in 2006-7 when 9.9% were obese.
In year 6 the proportion of 10-11 year olds classified as obese rose substantially to 19.1%, an increase in turn from 17.5% in 2006-7.
But these figures mask the extent to which poorer children have seen a big rise in their obesity. Figures published by the chief medical officer show the rise in obesity in deprived areas is much higher in primary school, rising from 12% to 25%. In wealthier areas the figures indicate that 13.1% of 10 and 11-year-old pupils in year six were obese, while in the poorest places it was 24.7%…
Do you welcome this initiative from David Cameron and, if so, what do you think the key issues it needs to address are and what possible solutions would you encourage it to give consideration to?
Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link