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Obesity rates in children at highest level since records began

Obesity in young children is at its highest level in England since records began in 2006, according to the latest official figures.

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) report, published by NHS Digital, found that the rates of obesity in four to five-year-olds and 10 to 11-year-olds rose by 4.5 per cent between 2019-20 and 2020-21.

In four to five-year-olds, it increased from 9.9 to 14.4 per cent during that period, while in year six pupils it went from 21 to 25.5 per cent.

The report also revealed that more than twice as many children from deprived areas were obese compared with those in the least deprived parts of the country. More than 20 per cent of reception-aged children from deprived areas were obese compared with nearly 8 per cent in the least deprived areas while the ratio for year six children was 33.8 per cent to 14.3 per cent.

The report said 27.7 per cent of all reception-aged children and 40.9 per cent of all year six children were obese or overweight.

Obesity prevalence in both age groups was higher in boys than girls. In the reception-age group, it was 14.8 per cent of boys compared to 14.1 per cent of girls while among year six children, 29.2 per cent of boys compared to 21.7 per cent of girls were obese.

The year six group had a slightly higher proportion of underweight children compared with the reception-age group while the number of children with a healthy weight in both groups fell between 2019 and 2021.

The NCMP is an annual measurement of the height and weight of children from around 17,000 state-maintained schools including academies.

 



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