William Eichler 17 November 2021

Childhood obesity ‘one of the greatest public health challenges’

Childhood obesity ‘one of the greatest public health challenges’ image

Local authority leaders are calling on the Government to do more to help councils tackle childhood obesity as the NHS warns of a ‘significant increase’ in obesity rates among primary-aged children.

The National Child Measurement Programme, England – 2020-21 report, published yesterday by NHS Digital, found obesity prevalence among four- and five-year-olds in reception classes rose from 9.9% in 2019-20 to 14.4% in 2020-21.

This increase of around 4.5 percentage points represents the highest annual rise since the National Child Measurement Programme was launched in the 2005-06 academic year.

Among year 6 pupils, who are aged 10 and 11, obesity prevalence increased from 21.0% in 2019-20 to 25.5% in 2020-21.

Obesity prevalence among children living in the most deprived areas was more than double that of those living in the least deprived areas, according to NHS Digital’s findings.

In reception-aged children, 20.3% in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 7.8% in the least deprived. In year 6 schoolchildren, the proportion who were obese ranged from 33.8% among those living in the most deprived areas to 14.3% in the least deprived.

Responding to what he described as ‘worrying figures’, Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Community Wellbeing Board, said that childhood obesity was ‘one of the greatest public health challenges we face’ and urged the Government to help councils tackle it.

‘Councils are doing all they can to support children and families to live healthy lives and reduce pressure on other public services, from health visitors supporting new parents to weight management services and subsidised leisure facilities, but more needs to be done, especially to reduce the gap between the most and least deprived,’ he said.

‘New powers and funding for councils are needed to build on this, including tackling the clustering of existing takeaways and restricting junk food advertising near schools.

‘Money raised from the soft drinks industry levy should also be reinvested in other council-run programmes, including exercise referral schemes and offering free or reduced-cost sport.

‘Investment in councils’ public health services now will reap benefits for everyone longer-term, including for the NHS as we look to build back better from COVID-19 and level up the future health chances of the next generation.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Media Officer

Northumberland County Council
£33,558
Building strong communities, transforming lives and delivering value for money – just a snapshot of our current priorities. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

Performance and Information Service Manager

Blaby District Council
£38,553 - £41,591
We are proud of our Council and, truly aspire to Blaby District being a great place in which to Live, Work and Visit. Blaby, Leicester
Recuriter: Blaby District Council

Team Leader - Data Management

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£34,131 to £41,361
We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual to join our Pensions Shared Service. Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Group Leader Highway Development Control - NPPP

Torfaen County Borough Council
£43,570 to £49,705
The Highway Development Control Group’s work is integral to the future development of Torfaen. Torfaen (Tor-faen)
Recuriter: Torfaen County Borough Council

Law and Governance Service Manager

Blaby District Council
£46,662 - £47,665
We are proud of our Council and, truly aspire to Blaby District being a great place in which to Live, Work and Visit. Blaby, Leicester
Recuriter: Blaby District Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.