One in six primary children ‘are obese’

NHS Digital data shows that 18% of Year 6 pupils in the East Riding were obese. Photo: PA Images
NHS Digital data shows that 18% of Year 6 pupils in the East Riding were obese. Photo: PA Images

Around one in six children finishing primary school in the East Riding are obese, new figures reveal.

Campaign group the Obesity Health Alliance says children are surrounded by unhealthy food and drinks, and is calling for bold government action to prevent further harm.

NHS Digital data shows that 18% of Year 6 pupils in the East Riding in 2018-19 were obese.

This was slightly up on the 16% considered obese in 2006-07, the earliest year with available data.

Additionally, 14% of Year 6 children were overweight last year, the same percentage as in 2006-07.

That means 32% of the area’s pupils in the last year of primary school were unhealthily overweight. And 4% were severely obese, with a BMI in the top one-in-250 for children.

Caroline Cerny, of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of organisations working to reduce obesity, said children are growing up in an environment that is “flooded” with unhealthy food and drinks, which are damaging their health.

Public Health England works out obesity using the 1990 British growth reference chart, a large collection of statistics used to determine a child’s BMI. It defines a child as obese if their BMI is in the chart’s top 5%, and overweight if they are in the top 15%.

Public health minister Jo Churchill said: “This problem has been decades in the making but we can turn this around.

“Our world-leading childhood obesity plan will help all families by making the healthiest choice the easiest choice, whether at home, at school, or at play.”