Sheffield sees rise in obese children
And the city’s epidemic is showing no signs of going away - as a study of primary care trusts in England placed Sheffield in second place on a table documenting the increase in obesity prevalence in Year 6 school-age children.
Data experts who collated the figures found there was a 36.82 per cent rise in the number of 11-year-olds who were classified as obese between 2007 and 2011.
Public health bosses in Rotherham have also seen a rise, of 16.97 per cent, while in Doncaster the number of obese children went up by 3.22 per cent.
Barnsley’s was the only primary care trust in South Yorkshire which bucked the trend by reporting a small decrease of 0.91 per cent.
Judy Aldred of SSentif, which carried out the research, said: “Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing public health concerns we have to tackle and yet rates have increased over the last five years, despite the Government’s attempts to curtail them.
“We’ve just hosted a fantastic Olympic games and the legacy of those games has to be to improve the health and fitness of our children. “This is the perfect time to focus on this issue and to take steps to tackle the problem.”
She added the figures were being released in a bid to highlight the ‘ineffectiveness’ of the Government’s National Child Measurement Programme.
But Sheffield’s primary care trust hit back, by highlighting its ongoing investment in programmes such as Zest for Health, a weight management service for young people, and Sheffield Let’s Change4Life, a school strand of the strategy which works with teachers to encourage pupils to stay on site during lunch break.
Bethan Plant, of NHS Sheffield, said: “Childhood obesity is a key priority for us in Sheffield. The health risks to overweight young people are significant and the costs associated with obesity are estimated to rise to £165m by 2015 in Sheffield alone.”