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The fat timebomb: A THIRD of primary school children are now overweight or obese
New NHS figures show 33.9 per cent of year six pupils weigh more than they shouldFifth of children in reception also overweight or obese
Pupils in urban areas more likely to be larger than those in towns and suburbs
11:26 GMT, 12 December 2012
A third of final year primary school children are overweight or obese, new figures suggest.
Last year 33.9 per cent of Year Six pupils, aged 10 or 11, weighed more than they should – a slight increase from 33.4 per cent the previous year.
The NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said year six pupils in urban areas were more likely to be obese than those who live in towns and suburbs.
children are overweight or obese
The percentage of children in reception who were overweight or obese was 22.6 per cent in 2011/12, the same as the previous year, the figures from the National Child Measurement Programme show.
The programme, which checks more than one million children in England, measures the height and weight of children in reception, who are generally aged four and five, and Year 6 pupils.
The highest prevalence of overweight and obese children in reception was recorded in the north east of England. London recorded the highest rates in Year 6 pupils.
Levels of obesity were highest among black children and lowest among those of Chinese descent.
The Government says it is encouraging families to 'eat healthily and get active'
Children who live in areas of high deprivation were also more likely to be obese, the report adds.
HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “The figures show that the proportion of Year 6 children who are either overweight or obese appears to be still increasing slightly.
'This differs from the picture for reception-year children, for whom prevalence of obesity remains level.
'The National Child Measurement Programme measures more than one million children and is the most robust snapshot of obesity levels among children in England.'
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity
Forum, told MailOnline: 'We had been led to believe by the Government
that the situation was levelling off and improving, but these figures
show this is not the case at all.
'There is now double the number of children aged 11 who are obese than they were when they began school.'
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry added that a new campaign to encourage healthy eating is to be launched by the Government in the new year.
She said: 'Being overweight can do serious damage to our health so we must reduce levels in children to give them the best start in life.
'That is why we are already taking action to encourage families to eat healthily and get active.'