Laura Sharman 04 November 2016

Childhood obesity on the increase shows figures

The number of children who are overweight or obese has risen over the past year, according to official figures.

The data from NHS Digital shows that the number of obese children in reception class has increased from 9.1% to 9.3%, with this number rising from 19.1% to 19.8% for those in year 6.

The National Child Measurement Programme also shows how obesity prevalence varies by local authority. Richmond upon Thames had the lowest figure for reception at 5.1%, compared to 14.7% in Middlesbrough, which had the highest.

The 2015-16 report also showed that children living in the most deprived areas were more than twice as likely to obese than those living in the least deprived areas.

Council leaders said the figures showed an urgent need for ‘decisive and radical’ action.

Chairman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: ‘The LGA has long called for fundamental reforms, such as a mandatory reduction of sugar in soft drinks, better sugar labelling on food and drink products, calorie counts on menus in chain restaurants, and for councils to be given powers to ban junk food advertising near schools.

‘We believe that these measures, which would help to promote greater individual responsibility, could help to significantly reduce childhood obesity.’

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