Almost one in three Year 6 children in South Gloucestershire are obese or overweight

October 31 2018

Almost one in three South Gloucestershire children are finishing primary school obese or overweight, new figures reveal.

Ralph Blackburn, data reporter 

 

Public health groups urged the Government to take further action to prevent youngsters consuming junk food and sugary drinks, as the level of severe obesity hit a record high across England.

NHS Digital figures show that 17% of Year 6 pupils in South Gloucestershire in 2017-18 were obese, of which 3.5% were severely obese. 

Additionally, 14% of Year 6 children were overweight.

That means 31% of South Gloucestershire's youngsters are unhealthily overweight when they finish primary school.

Across England, 4.2% of 10 and 11-year-olds are severely obese, a record high.

The figures are from the National Child Measurement Programme.

Each year officials measure the height and weight of more than one million children, in Reception and Year 6, to assess childhood obesity.

The Government works out obesity using the 1990 British growth reference chart, a large collection of statistics used to determine a child's body mass index (BMI). It defines a child as obese if their BMI is in the chart's top 5%, and overweight if they are in the top 15%.

Children's BMI is measured differently to adults, and is calculated using age and gender as well as height and weight.

Obesity can lead to heart problems and type 2 diabetes later in life, as well as psychological issues such as low self-esteem and depression.

The data shows that children often develop weight problems while at primary school.

In 2017-18, just 7% of South Gloucestershire's children were obese in Reception.

Across England one in five pupils in Year 6 was obese. Children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds were more than twice as likely to be obese than those from the wealthiest areas.

Dr Max Davie, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the figures were "totally unacceptable".

However, he said the Government "has already shown it is serious about tackling childhood obesity ... And I am reassured that these stats will begin moving in the right direction".