The number of 10- and 11-year-olds in year six classed as severely obese is almost double that of the four- and five-year-olds in reception year, analysis from the Local Government Association (LGA) has found. The Independent reports.
The LGA, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, has warned the high child obesity rates are contributing to a “multi-billion pound ill-health time bomb”.
Severe obesity rates are highest in children living in the most-deprived towns and cities, and those from black and minority ethnic groups, which the LGA suggested shows a need for more targeted interventions.
The data for 2016/17, supplied by the National Child Measurement Programme, shows 22,646 out of 556,452 (4.1 per cent) 10- and 11-year-olds are classed as severely obese.
The LGA says prevention work, including the ability of councils to provide weight management services for children and adults, is being hampered by a £600m reduction in councils’ public health budgets by central government between 2015/16 and 2019/20.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “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.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our childhood obesity plan is among the most comprehensive in the world – our sugar tax is funding school sports programmes and nutritious breakfasts for the poorest children, and we’re investing in further research into the links between obesity and inequality.”
How can these worrying stats be changed? Who’s to blame? Parents, schools, food manufacturers, the government, fast food outlets? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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