‘This threat to our chil­dren’s health will not be re­versed overnight’

Nottingham Post - - NEWS -

From page 1

the day. These chil­dren are our fu­ture - if we do not do any­thing about it it’s only go­ing to get worse.”

Fig­ures, which have been re­leased un­der the Na­tional Child Mea­sure Pro­gramme, over­seen by Pub­lic Health Eng­land, show that 24.8 per­cent of pupils in our city are classed as obese.

This is a rise from 24.5 per­cent the year be­fore.

In com­par­i­son, the na­tional av­er­age for Year Six obese chil­dren stands at 20.1 per­cent.

Speak­ing about why chil­dren are get­ting fat­ter, Ms Re­gan said more were stay­ing in­side to play on com­puter games and de­vices such as ipads.

“That keeps them quiet at home,” she said. “They do not want to go out and play – they want to play on those. That’s one of the prob­lems.”

The fig­ures also show that 6.6 per­cent of Year Six chil­dren in the city are classed as “se­verely obese”, which means they have a BMI of 40 or more.

This jumped from 5.3 per­cent in 2016-17.

To put the “se­verely obese” chil­dren into con­text, it is thought this would be the equiv­a­lent of a 4ft 8in boy – the av­er­age height for a 10-year-old – weigh­ing in at nearly 13 stone.

The lat­est fig­ures also show 19 per­cent of Year Six chil­dren in the rest of Not­ting­hamshire are classed as obese - a jump from 17.4 per­cent the year be­fore.

And 3.7 per­cent are se­verely obese – a rise from 3 per­cent.

Miss Re­gan de­cided to tackle the prob­lem head-on by in­tro­duc­ing weekly one-hour fit­nesses classes for chil­dren in Years Three, Four, Five and Six.

Two sep­a­rate ses­sions take place and around 120 chil­dren par­tic­i­pate dur­ing the school day – a move Ms Re­gan said im­proved chil­dren’s fit­ness and con­cen­tra­tion in the class­room.

Coun­cil­lors, mean­while, said it was an is­sue they would not “shy away from”.

Coun­cil­lor Sam Web­ster, port­fo­lio holder for health at Nottingham City Coun­cil, said: “Al­most four in ev­ery 10 pupils are leav­ing pri­mary school classed as ei­ther over­weight or obese and this can­not con­tinue with­out se­ri­ous health con­se­quences for these young­sters in adult­hood - ul­ti­mately it will re­duce their life ex­pectancy.

“The Health and Well­be­ing Board is aware of this and we are call­ing on par­ents to work with us, and our part­ners, to make changes to­day around what they feed their chil­dren, give them to drink and how much ex­er­cise they do.”

He added: “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.”

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