NHS statistics show an increase in the rates of obesity among children in England. According to it, one-third of the children aged 10 to 11 are overweight. While nearly 25% (150,000) youngsters are obese or severely obese.
Increased rates of obesity in children
Children have four-time more risk of getting obese if they are living in a poor area like Wolverhampton, in contrast to a rich area, like Richmond. The latest report by NHS shows that 24.6 % of 6-year-old children are either obese or severely obese.
Whereas, the rate of children who are severely obese has hit the record. That is three times greater compared to the rates 12 years ago. According to NHS, the rates of obesity have increased from 3.2 % to 4.4 % in the year 2006 – 07. Besides this, a 4.2% increase in rate was also observed during 2017 – 18.
On the whole, nearly 34.3 % – more than a third of children aged 6 are overweight or obese. That means about 205,923 children are too heavy for their age by the time they have left primary school. Later, the National Child Measurement Programme – NCMP started recording data on this issue.
The data has shown that children aged four to five are fatter than last year. Overall, 22.6 % of reception class children are overweight. That is still more than last year (22.4 %). Additionally, more than one in ten of the reception class children are obese or severely obese.
Recommendations by Professor Dame Sally
Obesity is a major public health threat for children that can lead to many other illnesses. And drastic measures are needed to combat and reduce the rates of obesity in children. Simon Stevens is the chief secretary of the NHS.
She stated that according to the figures England is not on track to meet the government’s sensible goal of reducing childhood obesity by one half. Whereas, a combined effort is required by government, business, and parents to protect children from this preventable harm.
Additionally, Professor Dame Sally Davies has also warned that England is nowhere near meeting 2030 ambitions to reduce the rates of childhood obesity by half. In her final report, Prof. Dame Sally has given the following recommendations for controlling obesity in children.
- Banning all drinks (except water) and foods on urban public transport
- Using Brexit to simplify VAT rates on food – applying taxes to unhealthy foods, and removing them from healthy foods
- Discontinuing the display of any advertisement related to unhealthy drinks or foods at major public venues
- Ensuring the provision of healthy foods by schools at a low price
- Making nutrition labeling mandatory on the front of food packs
- Considering plain packaging for calorie-rich food by 2024
Caroline Cerny, from the Obesity Health Alliance, has stated that each child has a right to grow up healthy. But the data by NHS shows the reality that in the current environment children are overwhelmed by a flood of unhealthy food.
The number of children classified as severely obese has hit the record. And it will damage the health of children now and in the future. So, its time for the Government to take measures to restrict the marketing and promotion of unhealthy food on TV and online.