THE NUMBER of overweight and obese children in Worcestershire has risen in the past year, new figures reveal.
Public Health England figures have found 34.1 per cent of Year Six pupils in the county were overweight or obese in 2016/17- that’s up from 32.8 per cent in 2015/16.
Worcestershire’s childhood obesity rate is above the national average which stands at 34.2 per cent.
The data reveals 23.4 per cent of Reception pupils in the county are overweight or obese. That figure is up by 1.1 per cent compared to the year before.
There are also major disparities in the childhood obesity rate between Worcestershire’s least and most deprived areas. 39.3 per cent of Year 6 children who are overweight or obese live in the most deprived areas, compared to 29.8 per cent in the least deprived.
The data is used as part of the National Child Measurement Programme which determines the weight of children in Reception Year and Year 6 in schools across the country.
Coun John Smith, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Childhood obesity is a concerning issue across England. “Obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely, with proven links to cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and tackling it while young will save lives.
“A healthy weight in childhood lays the foundations for decades of healthy life as an adult. This data underlines how important it is for families to talk about health and weight as part of everyday life.
“Everyone needs to play their part to help reduce levels of obesity. Individuals and families need to ensure that healthy weight is achieved and maintained through healthy eating and increasing exercise.
“The County Council is working with organisations across the County including the NHS, schools, councils and voluntary groups to help people achieve a healthy weight.”