Severe obesity in 10 to 11 year olds reaches record high

Analysis of the National Child Measurement Programme shows the proportion of children in Year 6 with severe obesity has reached an all-time high.

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, Tuesday 24 July 2018, by Public Health England (PHE).

Analysis of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) between 2006 to 2007 and 2016 to 2017 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 to 5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10 to 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.

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
  • a downward trend of underweight in Reception age boys and girls, and Year 6 girls

The Department of Health and Social Care recently announced the second chapter of its Childhood Obesity Plan to help halve childhood obesity by 2030. Main actions include mandatory calorie labelling on menus; and restrictions on price promotions on foods high in fat, salt or sugar. These measures will go out for consultation later in 2018.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said,

“The rise in severe obesity and widening health inequalities highlight why bold measures are needed to tackle this threat to our children’s health. These trends are extremely worrying and have been decades in the making – reversing them will not happen overnight.”


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