One in ten children are obese when they start primary school, and one in five will be obese by the time they leave, according to new statistics.
The figures, published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, have led to experts warning that more must be done by the government to tackle childhood obesity levels.
Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic problems, heart disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer. Obesity in children increases the risk of health problems as adults.
Children with obesity are also more likely to experience emotional and psychological issues, social stigmatisation and low self-esteem, for example. Previous studies have found that public perception of people with obesity is negative, with many harmful stereotypes being perpetuated.
That 9.3 per cent of children will be obesity by the time they start primary school is alarming, but this figure is not actually getting worse: in 2006-2007, that figure was 9.9.
However, in 2013-2014, 19.1 per cent of Year 6 children were obese. The previous year that figure was 18.9, and in 2006-2007 it was 17.5 per cent.
This rise in childhood obesity coincides with the rise of childhood type 2 diabetes. While obesity is far from the only cause of type 2 diabetes, it does increase the risk.
The first cases of type 2 diabetes in children were reported in 2000. Statistics suggests that now as many as 1,400 children may have the disease.
Eustace de Sousa, national for children, young people and families at Public Health England, said: “Overall childhood obesity rates have remained stable for since 2010, however for children from the poorest households levels have continued to worsen so there is no room for complacency.
“We know that almost one in 10 four to five year olds are obese (9.5 per cent) and by age 10-11 this double to nearly one in five (19.1 per cent).
“Obese children are more likely to experience bullying, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and have a higher risk of becoming obese adults and developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease as a result.”

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