'Worrying trend' of rising childhood obesity

Sheffield is slightly below the national average in the childhood obesity statistics
Sheffield is slightly below the national average in the childhood obesity statistics
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The number of children who are overweight or obese when they leave primary school has hit record levels, though Sheffield’s figures were lower than the national average.

More than a third of ten and 11-year-old children in year six - 34.2 per cent - are overweight or obese, up from 31.6 a decade ago, the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) shows.

Sheffield’s rates of childhood obesity were slightly lower than the national average.

In Sheffield, 8.3 per cent of four to five year olds were obese in 2014/15 compared with the England average of 9.1 per cent - although 21 per cent are classed as overweight.

The NCMP measures the height and weight of more than a million children in England every year.

Yorkshire and the Humber delivered average figures when the data was broken down by region, with obesity affecting 20.3 per cent of year six pupils in the area.

The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) - a coalition of more than 30 charities and groups including Action on Sugar, the British Heart Foundation, British Medical Association, Children's Food Trust, and Diabetes UK - said in a statement: "Another set of childhood obesity statistics and another bleak picture.

"Year upon year, we are faced with sobering figures that reveal an increasingly worrying trend - the number of obese and overweight children in the UK is not falling, and is in fact rising."

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield, said: “Childhood obesity is a worrying trend which can have life-long impacts.

“Healthy eating and staying active is the best way to combat this, and there are lots of tips and advice for families about this. This includes things like thinking about portion sizes, getting your five a day and not eating or drinking too much sugar.

“We’ve also got some special courses for families that we commission where parents and carers do sessions with an advisor about healthy eating and at the same time as the children do an activity one. This is going really well and we’ve been told it’s changing how the whole family is eating.

“Schools also help promote healthy eating and exercise and Sheffield also has a weight management service which helps people in the city of all ages. If anyone is worried about their child’s weight they should speak to their GP or contact our weight management service.”