New fig­ures show 22,000 Year Six pupils are obese

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - JEN­NIFER COCKERELL glamorgan.gazette@waleson­

THE num­ber of 10 and 11 year olds classed as se­verely obese, the most over­weight scale, in the fi­nal year of pri­mary school is nearly dou­ble that of those in re­cep­tion, new anal­y­sis has found.

Fig­ures show more than 22,000 out of 556,000 of chil­dren in Year Six are classed as se­verely obese, nearly twice that of the nearly 15,000 out of 629,000 chil­dren of four and five year olds classed as se­verely obese,

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (LGA), which ob­tained the fig­ures, said this shows chil­dren are gain­ing weight at a dras­tic rate as they go through schools.

The LGA, which rep­re­sents 370 coun­cils in Wales and Eng­land, warned the se­vere child obe­sity rates are con­tribut­ing to a “multi-bil­lion pound ill-health time bomb”.

Se­vere obe­sity puts peo­ple at se­ri­ous health risks, in­clud­ing di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, stroke and can­cer.

Se­vere obe­sity can also shorten a per­son’s life by 10 years – an equiv­a­lent loss to the ef­fects of life­long smok­ing.

In adults, a BMI of 40 or above means a per­son is se­verely obese, at least 60% higher than the up­per healthy weight BMI limit of 24.9.

The first data of its kind for 2016-17, ob­tained by the LGA and sup­plied by the Na­tional Child Mea­sure­ment Pro­gramme (NCMP), shows a to­tal of 22,646 out of 556,452 (4.1%) of 10 and 11 year olds are classed as se­verely obese.

This is nearly twice that of the 14,787 out of 629,359 chil­dren (2.35%) of four and five year old chil­dren in re­cep­tion.

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.

De­spite bud­get re­duc­tions, it said coun­cils are spend­ing more on run- ning ef­fec­tive pre­ven­tion schemes to help chil­dren stay healthy, which is key to tack­ling the child obe­sity cri­sis and re­duc­ing fu­ture costs to hospi­tal, health and so­cial care ser­vices.

But it added that this 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.

The LGA is call­ing for re­duc­tions in pub­lic health grants to be re­versed by the Gov­ern­ment and for fur­ther re­forms to tackle child­hood obe­sity.

This in­cludes coun­cils hav­ing a say in how and where the soft drinks levy is spent, bet­ter la­belling on food and drinks, and for coun­cils to be given pow­ers to ban junk food ad­ver­tis­ing near schools.

Councillor Izzi Sec­combe, chair­woman of the LGA’s Com­mu­nity Well­be­ing Board, said: “These new fig­ures on se­verely obese chil­dren are a fur­ther wor­ry­ing wakeup call for ur­gent joinedup ac­tion.

“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.

“Un­less we tackle this obe­sity cri­sis, to­day’s obese chil­dren will be­come to­mor­row’s obese adults whose years of healthy life will be short­ened by a whole host of health prob­lems in­clud­ing di­a­betes, can­cer and heart dis­ease.

“Cuts to coun­cils’ pub­lic health grants by Gov­ern­ment are hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the many pre­ven­tion and early in­ter­ven­tion ser­vices car­ried out by coun­cils to com­bat child obe­sity.

“This short-sighted ap­proach risks caus­ing NHS costs to snow­ball due to the ill health con­se­quences of obe­sity in our younger gen­er­a­tion.”


New fig­ures show more than 22,000 out of 556,000 of chil­dren in Year 6 – aged 10 and 11 – are classed as se­verely obese

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