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Public Health Minister, Steve Brine
Industry
Childhood obesity in England reaches ‘record high’
11/10/2018 - 10:11
Childhood obesity in England has reached a ‘record high’ it was this morning revealed, with 4.2% of 10-11 year-olds classed as ‘severely’ obese – up more than a third since 2006/7.

The news comes from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), overseen by Public Health England (PHE), and follows the findings in a World Obersity Forum study released today that people with obesity 'experience stigma and discrimination across all aspects of their lives'.

With 197,888 year six children in England classed as obese, it is the highest record on rate. A further 136,586 reception-aged children are also overweight and obese.

The findings also show that childhood obesity in the most deprived areas is more than double that of the least deprived:

  • In the most deprived areas, 12.8% of children in reception are obese, compared to 5.7% in the least deprived
  • In year six it is 26.8% in the most deprived areas compared to 11.7% in the least deprived
  • In both age groups, severe obesity is four times higher in deprived areas

Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: “Obesity is a problem that has been decades in the making – one that will take significant effort across government, schools, families and wider society to address.

“We cannot expect to see a reversal in trends overnight, but we have been clear that we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep children healthy and well in this country.

“We have already removed tonnes of sugar from children’s diets through the sugar tax, which has funded vital school sports and breakfast programmes, and this summer we announced the second chapter of our childhood obesity strategy with a series of bold plans to halve child obesity by 2030."

PHE met with trade bodies, manufacturers, out-of-home businesses and public health non-governmental organisations this week to discuss the next phase of the calorie reduction programme.

PHE chief nutritionist, Dr Alison Tedstone, added: “These continuing high rates of childhood obesity combined with widening health inequalities, highlight why government is taking bold steps to tackle this crisis.

“This threat to our children’s health has been decades in the making – we’re moving in the right direction but reversing it will not happen overnight.”

Eustace De Sousa, PHE national lead for children, said: “These figures are a stark reminder that addressing childhood obesity is everyone’s problem.

“We owe it to current and future generations to act now. Everyone – from the food industry to local councils – should play their part, but families can also make positive changes with help from Change4Life.”