Childhood obesity rates are still on the up, Government figures have shown.
The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for the 2019/20 school year has found that obesity levels in Reception have gone up from 9.7% in 2018-19 to 9.9% in 2019-20.
- Obesity found to impact brain function which hampers stroke recovery
- Body microbiota combined with obesity and diabetes increases COVID-19 severity
The pattern continues among Year 6 children, where obesity prevalence has increased from 20.2% in 2018-19 to 21% in 2019-20.
The report has also unveiled there is a big disparity between rich and poor areas.
The document showed that 27.5% of Year 6 kids, aged 10 and 11, living in poor areas of the country were obese.
In comparison, only 11.9% of children of the same age who come from more affluent areas were deemed obese.
The pattern continued in younger age groups with 13.3% of Reception children, aged between four and five, living in poorer areas were obese. Only 6% of the same aged kids from richer backgrounds were considered overweight.
Boys are more prone to piling on the pounds with 10.1% of Reception children being deemed obese, compared with 9.7% of girls. In Year 6, 23.6% of boys were obese compared to 18.4% of girls.
Childhood obesity has been a concern for a number of years as the condition can lead to type 2 diabetes. Public Health England has said that the number of children with an unhealthy and potentially dangerous weight is a “national public health concern”.
The Government has published a series of stages to its overall childhood obesity plan. A sugar tax on fizzy drinks has already been introduced and in July 2020 it said tight restrictions on junk-food advertising would be brought in.
- Government set to ban junk food adverts till 9pm
- Cutting out junk food could prevent damage to male fertility
However, Caroline Cerny, Alliance Lead at the Obesity Health Alliance, said stricter action needs to be introduced more quickly.
She said: “In a year when public health has been propelled to the forefront of politics, we now need action on child health – not just words. Taking junk food out of the spotlight through restrictions on marketing and promotions – including the long overdue 9pm watershed on junk food adverts – should be the first step. The sooner action is taken, the sooner we can give all children the chance to grow up healthy.”