Childhood obesity reaches record-high: 23% of pupils in their first year of primary school and 35% of those in Year 6 are overweight, worrying study shows
- The Government’s National Child Measurement Programme was released today
- Found 21 per cent of Year 6 pupils and 9.9 per cent of reception children obese
- Boys have higher obesity prevalence than girls in both age groups, report said
Nearly a quarter of children in England’s reception classes and more than a third of Year 6 pupils are now overweight or obese, a worrying new study revealed today.
The Government report found 21 per cent of those in Year 6 were obese, up from a previous high of 20.2 per cent the year before.
A total of 35 per cent of those aged ten or 11 were classed as overweight or obese.
For reception children – aged four and five – the obesity rate has risen from 9.7 to 9.9 per cent, its highest level since 2006/7.
A total of 23 per cent of reception children were overweight or obese in 2019/20.
Pictured: Data showing the percentage of children in reception and Year 6 classes who are overweight or obese in England
Almost a quarter of children in Reception classes and 35 per cent of Year 6 pupils are now overweight or obese, a worrying new study shows. Pictured: Stock image
Boys have a higher obesity prevalence than girls in both age groups, the report from the Government’s National Child Measurement Programme also found.
In reception, 10.1 per cent of boys were obese compared to 9.7 per cent of girls, and in Year 6, 23.6 per cent of boys were obese compared to 18.4 per cent of girls.
The report analysed the Body Mass Indices (BMI) of 890,608 children from Reception and Year 6 classes in mainstream, state-maintained schools in England.
It contains analyses of BMI classification rates by age, sex and ethnicity as well as geographic analyses.
The Government’s National Child Measurement Programme found obesity prevalence in Year 6 children has increased from 20.2 per cent in 2018/19 to its highest ever rate of 21 per cent in 2019/20
For Reception children – aged four and five – obesity prevalence has risen to its highest level since 2006/7, with 9.9 per cent of pupils in this category
Findings show that 13.3 per cent of reception children living in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 6 per cent of those living in the least deprived areas.
The study also showed 27.5 per cent of Year 6 children living in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 11.9 per cent of those living in the least deprived areas.
The number of children measured as part of the programme was 26 per cent lower than the 1,198,261 children who were measured in 2018/19.
Pictured: Obesity prevalence in Reception and Year 6 children in different regions of England
Sidonie Sakula-Barry, the World Cancer Research Fund’s health promotion manager, said: ‘Every year this data on children’s weight is released, and every year childhood overweight and obesity has increased.
‘This trend will not change unless our commitment to ending child obesity is driven by action from Government, food industry, and the public to make healthier food affordable and accessible to all – it’s not a coincidence that obesity rates are twice as high in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived.
‘Until we do that, obesity will remain high, increasing our children’s risk of cancer in adulthood, and obesity prevalence will remain highest among children living in the most deprived areas.’