Num­ber of obese chil­dren con­tin­ues to dou­ble

Uxbridge Gazette - - News - By MARTIN ELVERY martin.elvery@reach­ Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

THE num­ber of chil­dren who are obese and over­weight is con­tin­u­ing to more than dou­ble be­tween the years of re­cep­tion and Year 6, coun­cil re­ports re­veal.

In Houn­slow, the per­cent­age of chil­dren recorded as over­weight in Year 6 re­mained at just un­der 40% from 2013/14 to 2016/17. This is com­pared to a fig­ure of around 21% of re­cep­tion chil­dren.

The per­cent­age of chil­dren recorded as obese in Year 6 re­mained at just un­der 24.3% be­tween 2013 and 2017. In re­cep­tion it was 10.3%.

Houn­slow Coun­cil says it is work­ing on a se­ries of mea­sures to try to tackle the prob­lem.

Last month fig­ures from the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (LGA) re­vealed that 23.6% of Year 6 chil­dren in Lon­don are obese and 10.3% in re­cep­tion.

In Eal­ing, data for 2017 shows chil­dren have worse than the UK av­er­age lev­els of obe­sity with 10.6% of re­cep­tion chil­dren aged four to five and 23.9% of Year 6 chil­dren clas­si­fied as obese.

In Hillingdon in 2017, 9.3% of chil­dren in re­cep­tion and 23.2% of chil­dren in Year 6 were obese.

All the bor­oughs are run­ning a se­ries of pro­grammes to try to tackle the prob­lem.

In Hil­lig­don, these in­clude en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to fol­low the UNICEF ac­cred­ited com­mu­nity breast­feed­ing pro­mo­tion, launch­ing new healthy eat­ing and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes, launch­ing a new child weight man­age­ment pro­gramme and an ac­tive travel pro­gramme.

As well as mak­ing prom­ises to deal with child­hood obe­sity in his re­cent draft Lon­don Food Strat­egy, Lon­don mayor Sadiq Khan made rec­om­men­da­tions to pub­lic bod­ies, such as schools and the NHS, to help fight obe­sity lev­els.

The doc­u­ment said that lo­cal author­i­ties should help schools to adopt poli­cies such as food and health ed­u­ca­tion and that Pub­lic Health Eng­land should work with the Child Obe­sity Task­force to help busi­nesses pro­mote healthy food op­tions.

The Child Obe­sity Task­force will be launched later this year and will be made up of a group of 12 peo­ple, chaired by Mr Khan, who will work to re­duce child­hood obe­sity in Lon­don.

If your child is very over­weight, the NHS rec­om­mends lots you can do to help them be­come a healthy weight as they grow.

Lis­ten to your child’s con­cern about their weight. Over­weight chil­dren of­ten know they have a weight prob­lem and they need to feel sup­ported and in con­trol of their weight.

Let them know that you love them, what­ever their weight, and that all you want is for them to be healthy and happy.

One of the best ways to in­stil good habits in your child is to be a good role model. Chil­dren learn by ex­am­ple. One of the most pow­er­ful ways to en­cour­age your child to be ac­tive and eat well is to do so your­self.

Set a good ex­am­ple by go­ing for a walk or bike ride in­stead of watch­ing TV or surf­ing the in­ter­net. Play­ing in the park or swim­ming with your chil­dren shows them be­ing ac­tive is fun.

Any changes you make to your child’s diet and life­style are much more likely to be ac­cepted if the changes are small and in­volve the whole fam­ily.

Very over­weight chil­dren do not need to do more ex­er­cise than slim­mer chil­dren. Their extra body weight means they will nat­u­rally burn more calo­ries for the same ac­tiv­ity. All chil­dren need about 60 min­utes of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity a day for good health, but it does not need to be all at once.

If your child is not used to be­ing ac­tive, en­cour­age them to start with what they can do and build up to 60 min­utes a day. They are more likely to stick to their new ac­tiv­ity lev­els if you let them choose the type of ac­tiv­ity they are com­fort­able with.

Walk­ing or cy­cling short dis­tances in­stead of us­ing the car or bus is a great way to be ac­tive to­gether as a fam­ily.

Try to avoid feed­ing your child large por­tions. A good rule of thumb is to start meals with small serv­ings and let your child ask for more if they’re still hun­gry. Be­ware of high-calo­rie foods.

Chil­dren, just like adults, should aim to eat five or more por­tions of fruit and veg­eta­bles ev­ery day.

Dis­cour­age your child from hav­ing sug­ary or high-fat foods like sweets, cakes, bis­cuits, some sug­ary ce­re­als and sugar-sweet­ened soft and fizzy drinks. These foods and drinks tend to be high in calo­ries and low in nu­tri­ents.

Help your chil­dren avoid sit­ting and ly­ing around too much, as it makes it more likely for them to put on weight. Limit the amount of time your child spends on in­ac­tive pas­times such as watch­ing tele­vi­sion, play­ing video games and play­ing on elec­tronic de­vices.

If you have re­ceived a let­ter about your child’s weight af­ter they were mea­sured at school, you can use the con­tact num­ber on the let­ter to speak to a health worker and get more in­for­ma­tion about what you can do and what sup­port is avail­able. Your GP or prac­tice nurse can give you fur­ther advice. They also may be able to re­fer you to a lo­cal weight man­age­ment pro­gramme for chil­dren.

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