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One in five primary pupils starting school a healthy size are fatter when they leave, data shows


One in five primary pupils start school with a healthy weight but are fatter when they leave, data shows 

  •  One in five children who start primary school a healthy size leave overweight
  • Figures reveal boys were more likely than girls to pile on the weight at school 
  • 75.9 per cent of kids who started school overweight or obese remained this way
  •  The Government says it is committed to halving childhood obesity by 2030

One in five children who started primary school a healthy size are leaving overweight or obese, damning figures reveal.

Boys were more likely than girls to pile on the pounds, data shows. Overweight boys were also more likely to move into the severely obese category by 11, according to the National Child Measurement Programme report.

Some 22.3 per cent of boys and 17.2 per cent of girls had moved up a weight category to overweight or obese by the end of year 6. Of those who started overweight, obese or severely obese, 75.9 per cent of them remained this way. One in 50 were already severely obese by the time they started school.

Among ethnic minorities, three in ten Bangladeshi and Pakistani children and around a quarter of black pupils were an unhealthy weight by year 6. This compared with one in ten white British children.

Overweight boys were also more likely to move into the severely obese category by 11, according to the National Child Measurement Programme report

Overweight boys were also more likely to move into the severely obese category by 11, according to the National Child Measurement Programme report 

Experts said the issue was a ‘national disgrace’. Tam Fry, of the Child Growth Foundation, said we were ‘failing our children.’ The Government says it is committed to halving childhood obesity by 2030.

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, called for greater powers to restrict take-aways and ban junk food advertising near schools.

He said: ‘New powers and funding for councils are needed to build on this, including tackling the clustering of existing takeaways and restricting junk food advertising near schools.

‘We need to expand access to Healthy Start Vouchers to ensure more families on low incomes can access fresh fruit and vegetables as well as expanding access and increasing the eligibility criteria of Free School Meals.

‘Investment in councils’ public health services now will reap benefits for everyone longer-term, including for the NHS as we look to build back better from the pandemic and level up the future health chances of the next generation.’

A government spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to halving childhood obesity by 2030 by supporting families through schemes such as Healthy Start and helping schools to provide healthy, nutritious meals to all pupils.’

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