One in five primary school students who start school at a healthy size are fatter when they leave, data shows

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

  • One in five children who start primary school at a healthy size emerge overweight
  • Figures reveal boys were more likely than girls to gain weight at school
  • 75.9 percent of children who started school overweight or obese stayed that way
  • Government commits to halve childhood obesity by 2030

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One in five children who started primary school at a healthy size end up overweight or obese, damning figures reveal.

Boys were more likely than girls to gain weight, the data shows. Overweight children were also more likely to move into the severely obese category at age 11, according to the National Child Measurement Program report.

About 22.3 percent of boys and 17.2 percent of girls had moved up one weight category to overweight or obese at the end of year 6. Of those who started out overweight, obese, or severely obese, 75 .9 percent of them stayed that way. One in 50 was already severely obese when they started school.

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

Overweight children were also more likely to move into the severely obese category at age 11, according to the National Child Measurement Program report.

Overweight children were also more likely to move into the severely obese category at age 11, according to the National Child Measurement Program report.

Experts called the problem a “national embarrassment.” 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 Community Welfare Board, called for greater powers to restrict takeaways and ban junk food advertising near schools.

He said: ‘New powers and funding are needed for councils to take advantage of this, including tackling the existing takeaway pool and restricting junk food advertising near schools.

‘We need to expand access to Healthy Start vouchers to ensure more low-income families can access fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as expand access and increase eligibility criteria for free school meals.

“Investing in councils’ public health services now will deliver long-term benefits for all, including the NHS, as we seek to build back better from the pandemic and increase the future health chances of the next generation.”

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

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