More than a third of Peterborough Year 6 pupils classed as obese or overweight
More than a third of Year 6 pupils in Peterborough are classed as obese or overweight, according to newly published figures.
The latest NHS Digital figures show 36.2 per cent of pupils at schools in the Peterborough local authority area are obese or overweight.
In total, 14.2 per cent of Year 6 pupils are overweight and 22 per cent are obese.
For children in reception, 14.2 per cent are overweight with 8.9 per cent classed as obese, adding up to a total of 23.1 per cent as either overweight or obese.
In the Cambridgeshire County Council local authority area, 27.2 per cent of Year 6 pupils are overweight or obese, as are 18.5 per cent of children in reception.
The East of England averages are 31.5 per cent for Year 6 pupils and 21 per cent for reception pupils.
For the whole of England, the averages are 34.2 per cent and 22.6 per cent.
Barbara Paterson, deputy director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, East of England, said: “Although we have not seen a huge increase in child obesity rates in the region, these latest figures should still be a wake-up call as no child should suffer with obesity.
“Our children need every opportunity to enjoy a healthy life when they are young and to avoid developing serious health problems such as diabetes, heart and liver disease.
“Childhood obesity is the challenge of a generation and we need to take collective joined-up action both locally and nationally to give our children the future they deserve.”
The data is taken from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) which determines the height and weight of children in Reception and Year 6 in schools across the country.
In some areas, children’s weight status is shared with their parents to help them understand their child’s growth and consider positive lifestyle changes.
Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from poor self-esteem, bullying and tooth decay in childhood. They are also more likely to be overweight or obese adults, which can lead to a range of preventable illnesses including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
As well as causing avoidable suffering to millions, obesity is putting the health and care systems under increasing financial strain.
Public Health England (PHE) has launched a comprehensive sugar reduction programme and has begun work to tackle excess calorie consumption, while the Soft Drinks Industry Levy has become law and will take effect from April 2018.
Leading retailers and manufacturers have announced they have lowered the amount of sugar in their products or will do so as a result of these programmes.
PHE’s Change4Life campaign is also helping millions of families to make healthier choices through meal swap suggestions and the Be Food Smart app to identify the sugar, salt and fat in food. It also supports schools to help them embed healthier habits into everyday school life.
Eustace De Sousa, national lead for children, young people and families at PHE, said: “A healthy weight in childhood lays the foundations for decades of healthy life as an adult. This data underlines how important it is for families to talk about health and weight as part of everyday life.
“Each year, more children leave primary school overweight or obese and our most deprived areas are the worst affected. It’s never too soon to make a change and there is lots of support from councils and Change4Life to help.”