More than 20,000 children in the UK are severely obese when they leave primary school, new figures show, and campaigners have called for more to be done to tackle childhood obesity.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 councils across England and Wales, obtained the statistics from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). The data revealed that 4.1% of 10 and 11-year-olds in Year 6 are classed as severely obese, a total of 22,646 out of 556,452 children.
Obesity is significantly linked with type 2 diabetes, and rates are increasing among children in the UK. Efforts are being made to tackle this problem, including the introduction of a sugar tax earlier this year.
Childhood obesity is a pertinent health concer, but the message is spreading that type 2 diabetes can be put into remission by eating real, unprocessed food and drink, and getting regular exercise. Moreover, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by the same focus on real foods and physical activity. Cutting out sugary and highly processed food can go a long way towards achieving this.
The LGA has highlighted reductions made to public health grants as a factor that needs addressing to tackle childhood obesity.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Cuts to councils’ public health grants by government are having a significant impact on the many prevention and early intervention services carried out by councils to combat child obesity.
“This short-sighted approach risks causing NHS costs to snowball due to the ill health consequences of obesity in our younger generation.”
The NCMP data revealed that obesity rates are worse among children who live in deprived areas or come from a black or ethnic community. In comparison, only 14,787 out of 629,359 kids in reception are deemed obese.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Our childhood obesity plan is among the most comprehensive in the world – our sugar tax is funding school sports programmes and nutritious breakfasts for the poorest children, and we’re investing in further research into the links between obesity and inequality.”

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