CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Telegraph
Children are leaving school fatter than ever – even though obesity is dropping among new arrivals, a new report shows.
The Telegraph reports that the statistics from Public Health England tracking children’s weight for almost a decade show “alarming” levels of obesity among those leaving primary school, officials said.
In total, 19.8% of children in their last year of school are obese – a rise from 17.5% in 2006/7, the report shows.
The rise comes as obesity rates in those aged four to five have fallen, from 9.9% to 9.3%.
A “significant downward trend” has been seen among young boys, the report found.
In 2006/7 the obesity rate among boys starting school was 10.7%, dropping to 9.6% by 2015/16. Levels among girls of the same age remain at the 2006/7 level of nine per cent.
By the time they leave primary school, 17.9% of girls and 21.7% of boys are now classed as obese, the report shows.
The report also warns of a “widening” inequality gap with reductions in obesity among young children being seen less among poorer families, while among older children, increases in obesity are seen more in deprived areas.
Experts hope the improvements among the youngest children mean stark warnings about obesity are begining to be heeded.
But there is concern that school pupils are continuing to eat far too much junk food and fizzy drinks, putting their health at risk.
Eustace De Sousa, PHE national lead for children, young people and families said: “It is alarming that year after year we continue to see children leave primary school overweight or obese and it is affecting the poorest in our society the most.
“The causes of obesity are complex and we all – government, industry, local authorities and the public – have a role to play in this.”
The NHS has drawn up plans to use shock tactics in an attempt to scare parents into tackling their child’s looming obesity.
Parents will be shown a series of 3D graphics, showing a child their own age, digitally manipulated to look underweight, normal, overweight or obese.