The level of severe obesity cases in children aged 10 to 11 years has reached record highs, according to new figures published today by Public Health England (PHE).
Analysis of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) between 2006 to 2007 and 2016 to 2017 reveals detailed trends in severe obesity for the first time.
The figures also revealed that substantial health inequalities continue to widen across young children, with excess weight, obesity, overweight and severe obesity being prevelant in the more deprived areas compared to least deprived.
What other observations were found in the study?
According to a report by PHE, other observations found in the study 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.
What is the government doing to combat this issue?
The second chapter of the Department of Health and Social Care’s obesity plan was announced earlier this year, which aims to help halve childhood obesity cases by 2030.
Ways to tackle this 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.
PHE is also invested in helping reduce childhood obesity by working with the food industry to cut 20% of sugar from everyday products by 2020 and 20% of calories by 2024.