Wearside MP demands action to tackle childhood obesity 'crisis'

Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson MP

A Wearside MP says more needs to be done “to address the burgeoning crisis of childhood obesity here in the UK”.

Shadow public health minister Sharon Hodgson made the plea after new figures showed the percentage of overweight and obese 10 to 11-year-olds is the highest on record.

Data from the National Child Measurement Programme for England shows obesity has risen in the last year, even for the youngest children being measured, aged four.

The data, from NHS Digital, shows that more than one in three (34.2%) children in Year 6 (aged 10 to 11) were overweight or obese in 2015/16.

Mrs Hodgson added: “These findings should spur the Government to rethink their approach on childhood obesity and come clean about why they failed to do more to support the health of our nation’s children when they published the childhood obesity plan in the summer.”

More than one in five children (22.1%) were either overweight or obese in reception year (aged four to five), up on 21.9% the previous year but under the 22.9% in 2006/07.

When it comes to obesity alone, 9.3% of children in reception class were obese in 2015/16, up from 9.1% the year before.

One in five (19.8%) of those in year 6 were obese, up from 19.1% the year before.

The National Child Measurement Programme measures the height and weight of more than a million children in England every year and is considered to be a robust analysis of children's weight.

A breakdown by regions shows that 5.1% of children in Richmond upon Thames in south-west London were obese in reception class in 2015/16, but the figure was 14.7% in Middlesbrough, which had the highest proportion.

In 2015/16, Richmond upon Thames also had the lowest obesity prevalence in year 6, with 11%, while Barking and Dagenham had the highest with 28.5%.