More than 35% of children in Sunderland are overweight by the time they reach Year 6, new figures show.
Statistics released by the National Child Measurement Programme show that 13% of the city’s youngsters are overweight by Year 6, while 23.1% are obese, by age 11.
By Reception, which children join at age four, 11.6% were overweight in the last school year, and 10.6% were obese.
The figures have prompted the British Heart Foundation to call on a ban for junk food TV advertising before 9pm as part of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, to help improve children’s health.
Coun John Kelly, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for public health, wellness and culture, said: “We all know and recognise the importance of children having a healthy weight. It is crucial to realise that overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults.
“The council and its health partners have several programmes in place to deal with this very important issue. These, among others include the Change4life Programme and the Lifestyle Activity and Food (LAF) programmes for children and families.
“Although the figures in our area show signs of improvement, we cannot become complacent about this issue.”
He added: “If anyone has concerns about their child’s weight I would encourage them to either visit your GP or call the Lifestyle Activity and Food (LAF) team on 0191 561 4691 to discuss their options.”