Levels of severe obesity in children aged 10 to 11 years have reached the highest point since records began, according to new figures published today by Public Health England (PHE).
Analysis of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) between 2006 to 2007 and 2016 to 2017 details trends in severe obesity for the first time.
The programme captures the height and weight of over one million children in Reception (aged 4 to 5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years) in school each year.
The findings also show stark health inequalities continue to widen. The prevalence of excess weight, obesity, overweight and severe obesity are higher in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived – this is happening at a faster rate in Year 6 than Reception.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said:
The rise in severe obesity and widening health inequalities highlight why bold measures are needed to tackle this threat to our children’s health.
These trends are extremely worrying and have been decades in the making – reversing them will not happen overnight.
Unhealthy weight in childhood can result in bullying, stigma and low self-esteem. It is also likely to continue into adulthood, increasing the risk of preventable illnesses including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.