Levels of severe obesity in children aged 10 to 11 years have reached the highest point since records began, according to new figures published today by Public Health England (PHE).
Analysis of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) between 2006/07 and 2016/17 details trends in severe obesity for the first time. The programme captures the height and weight of over one million children in Reception (aged 4-5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10-11 years) in school each year.
The findings also show stark health inequalities continue to widen. The prevalence of excess weight, obesity, overweight and severe obesity are higher in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived – this is happening at a faster rate in Year 6 than Reception.
In response to the analysis, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:
“Although shocking, this new data is not surprising. For many years we have been calling for bold action and it appears for these young children, it did not come soon enough.
"The Government’s childhood obesity plan is encouraging but if the policies within it are not quickly enacted, more children are going to face a life that’s limited in quality and expectancy.
"Obesity is entirely preventable so this new data should be the springboard the Government needs in order to put these policies in place and begin turning around lives.”
Other observations include:
- an upward trend of excess weight, obesity and severe obesity in Year 6 children
- a downward trend of excess weight, overweight, obesity and severe obesity in Reception age boys, and
- a downward trend of underweight in Reception age boys and girls, and Year 6 girls.