Report States that Obesity Epidemic in Young People Remains Massive Issue

Data acquired by the Health and Social Care Information Centre suggests that the obesity epidemic in young people shows no signs of abating.

The report conducted by the organisation suggests that around 10 per cent of children were obese when they began primary school.

Yet this figure had doubled by the time that children leave these schools at the age of around 11.

Figures for obesity in Year 6 continue to rise, despite efforts to educate parents and people in general across the country about the dangers of obesity.

The study also suggested that there are clear demographic issues facing the country as well.

Children living in the most deprived areas were twice as likely to be obese as children in affluent areas.

Figures were acquired as a part of the British government’s National Child Measurement Programme for England which covers all state primary schools.

In Year 6, 19.1 per cent of children were obese; an increase on figures from eight years ago.

In some of the least successful regions, over one-quarter of children in Year 6 were found to be obese.

For example, 28 per cent of Year 6 pupils in Southwark were classed as obese and 44 per cent were either obese or overweight.

Commenting on these disturbing figures, Councillor Barrie Hargrove, Southwark’s cabinet member for public health, indicated that numerous people and groups must take responsibility for directly tackling the issue.

“Childhood obesity is an on-going and long term health issue in the borough with no single solution, and we are already implementing a range of initiatives to combat it, such as our free healthy school meals programme, and free fruit programme, to encourage healthy eating habits. We recognise that we need to do more to support children and their families.”

Wolverhampton had the largest number of obese 10 and 11-year-olds outside London, and Ros Jervis, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s director of public health, is similarly concerned about the problem.

“Obesity is associated with a number of serious medical conditions – so doing nothing is simply not an option.”

Going forward, numerous regions have indicated that action plans will be put in place in order to address the issue.

Information will be provided outlining what both organisations and individuals can do in order to tackle the obesity epidemic.

Additionally, programmes are being put in place with the aim of encouraging families to value nutrition more highly and encourage exercise.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Falling rates of obesity in Reception age children is promising, but the fact remains that we now have more children leaving primary school overweight or obese and this is simply unacceptable.”

Although there have been numerous prominent programmes and initiatives undertaken in recent years in an attempt to tackle the obesity crisis, it seems that this is ultimately having little tangible effect.


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