12/12/2012

One In Three Year Six Children Overweight

One in three final year primary school children are overweight or obese.

The percentage of final year – Year 6 - primary school children (generally aged ten to 11) who were overweight or obese increased to 33.9 per cent in 2011/12, up from 33.4 per cent in the previous year.

However, the percentage of Reception Year children who were overweight or obese in 2011/12 remained at 22.6 per cent – the same as in 2010/11.

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures the height and weight of children in Reception Year (generally four to five-year-olds) and Year 6 –the final year of primary school. By doing this it establishes the prevalence of pupils who are ‘underweight', ‘healthy weight', ‘overweight' and ‘obese'

Of England's ten Strategic Health Authority areas (SHAs), the North East SHA had the highest recorded prevalence among Reception Year children (24.5 per cent) while South East Coast had the lowest prevalence (20.7 per cent).

London SHA had the highest recorded prevalence among Year 6 children (37.5 per cent) while South Central and South East Coast had the lowest recorded prevalence (30.8 per cent).

Prevalence among children in both Reception Year and Year 6 increased in relation to deprivation levels – with children in the ten per cent most deprived areas more likely to be obese (12.3 per cent and 24.3 per cent respectively) than those in the ten per cent least deprived areas (6.8 per cent and 13.7 per cent).

Year 6 children in urban areas were more likely to be obese (19.9 per cent) compared to those in towns and suburbs (16.3 per cent) and those in rural locations (15.6 per cent). A similar pattern was seen for Reception Year children (9.8 per cent, 8.1 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively).

Children who were Black or Black British were most likely to be obese both in Reception Year (15.6 per cent) and Year 6 (27.5 per cent) while Chinese children were those least likely to be obese both in Reception Year (7.3 per cent) and Year 6 (16.7 per cent).

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: "The figures show that the proportion of Year 6 children who are either overweight or obese appears to be still increasing slightly.This differs from the picture for Reception Year children for whom prevalence of obesity remains level.

"The National Child Measurement Programme measures more than one million children6 and is the most robust snapshot of obesity levels among children in England. While this year's figures will be of major interest to parents, health care providers and policy makers, next year's report will be particularly noteworthy because it will be the first time a high proportion of the Year 6 children measured by the programme will have also been measured as Reception Year pupils."

(GK)

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