Almost one in five children across the East Riding are obese, according to new figures

Almost one in five children in the East Riding of Yorkshire are finishing primary school obese, new figures reveal.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 2:55 pm
NHS Digital data shows 19% of Year 6 pupils were classed as obese in the East Riding in 2019-20. Photo: PA Images

A new report from Public Health England looking back over the last 10 years has concluded there is a strong link between obesity and the poorest areas in the country.

NHS Digital data shows 19% of Year 6 pupils were classed as obese in the East Riding in 2019-20.

That figure was unchanged from 2009-10.

Unlike Year 6 children, the proportion of reception-age children obese has gone down slightly to 8% in 2019-20, from 9% a decade before.

Across England obesity among Year 6 pupils rose from 19% in 2009-10 to 21% in 2019-20.

In its report, PHE said rising levels of childhood obesity in deprived areas were offsetting progress seen in more prosperous areas.

Dr Alison Tedstone, PHE’s chief nutritionist, said: “Obesity is complex and is influenced by a range of factors, including education, income and the places that people live in, which may in part explain why we are seeing more overweight children in the most deprived areas.”

She added: “Too many children are living with obesity, threatening their future mental and physical health.

“Bold measures are needed to tackle this.”

They include a grant being offered to councils for child weight management services and pressure being placed on the food industry to produce healthier products.

But the NHS Confederation, a membership body for NHS organisations, said further action was urgently needed, including the restricting of fast food shops near schools and opening of more play areas and parks.

Caroline Cerny, alliance lead at Obesity Health Alliance, said more deprived areas may not have safe and well-maintained outdoor areas for children to play, or shops selling healthier food.

She added: “Previous government efforts to reduce child obesity have focused on awareness and education. But research is clear that this approach is ineffective.”

The figures come from the National Child Measurement Programme.