One in 25 children leaving primary school are categorised as severely obese according to Public Health England (PHE) – which is an all-time high.
The data found that 22,000 children between 10 and 11 years old are heading to secondary school severely obese.
The findings come from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) and reported that children in the most deprived areas have a higher rate of obesity – proving that health inequalities are increasing.
‘The rise in severe obesity and widening health inequalities highlight why bold measures are needed to tackle this threat to our children’s health,’ said Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE.
‘These trends are extremely worrying and have been decades in the making – reversing them will not happen overnight.’
In 2006-2007 the rate of severely obese children leaving primary school was 1 in 32, with year 6 boys being more likely to be obese – the percentage for boys has risen from 3.7% to 4.78% last year.
Childhood obesity has been increasing over the past decade and various measures have been introduced to tackle the issue as part of the Department of Health’s Childhood Obesity Plan – sweets and high-fat snacks have been banded at checkouts in supermarkets and there have been regulations put in place on junk food advertising on television.
Children who are severely obese are at risk of chronic health problems, such as developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer – which will add even more pressure in years to come to an already struggling NHS.
‘The Government's childhood obesity plan is encouraging but if the policies within it are not quickly enacted, more children are going to face a life that's limited in quality and expectancy,’ said Max Davie, officer for health promotion at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
‘Obesity is entirely preventable, so this new data should be the springboard the government needs in order to put these policies in place and begin turning around lives.’