Health

Child obesity rates climb

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UK Government statistics show that child obesity rates are continuing to grow year-on-year. How can the industry help encourage behavioural change?

The latest government statistics on childhood obesity present an increase from last year. The latest National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for England, 2019/20 school year showed that:

  • In Reception, obesity prevalence has increased – 9.7% in 2018-19 to 9.9% in 2019-20
  • In Year 6, obesity prevalence has increased – 20.2% in 2018-19 to 21.0% in 2019-20
  • Boys have a higher obesity prevalence than girls for both age groups – In Reception, 10.1% of boys were obese compared to 9.7% of girls – In Year 6, 23.6% of boys were obese compared to 18.4% of girls
  • Children living in the most deprived areas were more than twice as likely to be obese, than those living in the least deprived areas. 13.3% of Reception children living in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 6.0% of those living in the least deprived areas. 27.5% of Year 6 children living in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 11.9% of those living in the least deprived areas.

These latest numbers clearly demonstrate that the battle to tackle child obesity is clearly not being won. The government is signalling that it wants industry to self-regulate around foods high in salt, fat and sugar, yet there clearly needs to be more done from a legislative level to help provide an environment where child obesity starts to decline.

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