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Obesity levels in children have fallen

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The proportion of Year Six primary school children who are obese or overweight has fallen for the first time in six years according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

A third (33.3 per cent) of Year Six pupils measured for the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) in 2012-13 were obese or overweight, compared to 33.9 per cent in the previous year.

This proportion, which is still higher than in 2006-07, is the first recorded fall for Year Six in the seven year history of the NCMP, which measures the prevalence of obese, overweight, healthy weight and underweight children in Reception and Year Six.

In Reception aged children, the prevalence of obese and overweight children (which peaked in 2009-10), also fell in 2012-13, compared with the previous year and remains lower than seven years ago.

Obesity prevalence amongst children attending schools in the most deprived areas was almost doubles that of the least deprived, which is the same as in previous years. Around 12 per cent of Reception children in the most deprived areas were obese compared with the 6.4 per cent of children attending schools in the least deprived areas.

Children living in urban areas were also significantly more likely to be obese than children living in rural areas in both age groups.

In Reception children the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority (SHA), South Central SHA and East of England SHA had the lowest obesity prevalence. In Year Six, South East Coast SHA, South Central SHA and South West SHA had the lowest obesity prevalence. London SHA reported the highest obesity prevalence for both year groups at 10.8 per cent for Reception and 22.4 per cent for Year Six.

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