Obesity levels in children reach record highs

obesitySevere obesity levels in children aged 10-11 years old have reached their highest level since records began.

New figures published today by Public Health England (PHE) shows an upward trend of excess weight, obesity and severe obesity in year six children.

There is also a downward trend of underweight children in reception and year six girls.

‘The rise in severe obesity and widening health inequalities highlight why bold measures are needed to tackle this threat to our children’s health,’ Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said.

‘These trends are extremely worrying and have been decades in the making – reversing them will not happen overnight.’

Health inequalities

The findings by PHE also show health inequalities are continuing to widen between the most deprived and least deprived.

Excess weight, obesity, overweight and severely obese levels are higher in more deprived areas of the UK compared with the least deprived.

To help tackle obesity, PHE is encouraging the food industry to cut sugar in its products by 20% by 2020.

‘Tackling the amount of sugar we eat is not just a healthy thing to do, but an issue of inequality for many families,’ Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE), said earlier this year.

‘If businesses achieve these guidelines, 200,000 tonnes of sugar could be removed from the UK market per year by 2020.’

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