Three in five of England’s poorest boys are likely to be overweight or obese by 2020, compared to one in six of boys from more affluent areas, new figures show.
The research, published by the Obesity Health Alliance, shows a significant weight gap between the most and least deprived boys aged 5-11.
However, the figures show this trend is not the same for deprived girls who have the same predicted obesity rates (one in five) as their more affluent counterparts.
The Obesity Health Alliance warned eating or drinking too much sugar is the main cause of obesity in children, and is calling on the Government to step up its efforts to reduce sugar in food and protect children from junk food advertising.
Robin Ireland, chief executive at Health Equalities Group, said: ‘These stats also illustrate an obvious gender gap with boys, especially those from the most deprived areas, much more likely to be obese.
‘Whilst it is difficult to comment on exactly why this happens, there could be a number of reasons including girls usually being more conscious about their physical appearance, and boys being more brand loyal and therefore susceptible to the billions of pounds spent on marketing to children through brand characters and sports stars. Either way, this area needs a lot more attention.’