Primary school children from poor areas of the UK are twice as likely to be obese as children from wealthier areas, according to official figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Campaigners are demanding taxes on junk food.
In some parts of the country, more than 25 per cent of pupils in primary schools are classed as “dangerously overweight.” The issue of childhood obesity has caused a significant rise in the number of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year in the UK. As many as 1,400 children may have type 2 diabetes in this country.
Obesity increases the risk of a number of other health issues, including cardiovascular (heart) disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
The report collected data from 1.1 million primary school children who were weighed and measured last year. 6.6 per cent of four to five year old children from the wealthiest social areas were obese; the figure was 12 per cent in the most deprived parts of the country.
For children between the ages of 10 and 11, 13.1 per cent of those from wealthy areas were obese, while obesity affected 24.7 per cent of children from the least wealthy areas.
Children from Windsor and Maidenhead were the least obese, with only 5.5 per cent being affected, while in Hackney, East London, 14.4 per cent of children were obese.
The report is considered by many commentators to be indicative of issues of social inequality and nutrition education. Tam Fry, a spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, called the figures “appalling” in terms of the government’s response to the issue of childhood obesity:
“The inequality between richer and poorer areas in terms of the prevalence of childhood obesity is shocking. It’s appalling that despite the many billions of pounds that have been thrown at this problem, children in the most deprived areas have had no real chance to come out of this downward spiral.”

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