Latest obesity statistics published

RCPCH's Dr Max Davie welcomes the Government's obesity prevention efforts but calls for more support for those already overweight as latest stats reveal 20% of children are obese by age 11.

The prevalence of obesity has increased in Year 6 schoolchildren from 20% in 2016-17 to 20.1% in 2017-18, according to official statistics published by NHS Digital today. This equates to 116,000 children being obese in 2017-18.

Responding to the latest National Child Measurement Programme statistics (England - 2017-18), published today by NHS Digital, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:

“The Government has already shown it is serious about tackling childhood obesity so providing the actions set out in Chapter Two of the Childhood Obesity Plan are enacted, such as preventing junk food advertising on television before 9pm, I am reassured that these stats will begin moving in the right direction. However, as the figures have shown today, 20% of children are already obese by the time they leave primary school and this is totally unacceptable. Access and funding of high quality weight management services are urgently needed now if we are to ensure no child slips through the net and all children, no matter where they live are given the same opportunity to good health.” 

The report found:

  • the prevalence of obesity has increased in Year 6 schoolchildren from 20% in 2016/17 to 20.1% in 2017-18
  • 4.2% of year six schoolchildren and 2.4% of children in reception were classed as severely obese in 2017-18
  • obesity prevalence for children living in the most deprived areas was more than double that of those living in the least deprived areas
  • reception age obesity prevalence ranged from 5.7% in the least deprived to 12.8% in the most deprived, and in year six this ranged from 11.7% to 26.8.