This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Rates of obesity in school children rising

Written by: | Published:

Child obesity in a 'state of emergency' Childhood obesity rates are in a 'state of emergency'

Over a fifth of children in Reception (aged four-five years) are obese according to the National Child Measurement Programme from 2015/16.

The programme measures the height and weight of children in Reception and Year Six to assess overweight and obesity in children within primary schools. For both age groups, the percentage of obese children has increased. In Reception it increased to 9.3% from 9.1%, and in Year Six to 19.8% from 19.1% since 2014/15.

Fiona Smith, professional lead for children and young people’s nursing, said that every obese child is at risk of many more problems that can follow them into adulthood. 'By raising an obese nation, we’re storing up countless problems for the future and leading millions of children towards a life of ill health,' she said.

Obesity prevalence was higher in boys than in girls and obesity prevalence for children living in the most deprived areas in both age groups was more than double that of those living in the least deprived areas.

Ms Young said that as health visitors, school nurses and many other children's public health roles' are under threat, it is no surprise that this problem is yet to improve.

Professor Russell Viner, officer for health promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said that these figures act as a stark reminder as to just how serious the UK’s obesity problem is. 'With over a fifth of reception children overweight or obese and a third of children in Year Six - a rise from last year’s figures, it is not an understatement to say we are entering a state of emergency,' he added.

The Childhood Obesity Strategy was relased in August after the date was set back twice. Its contents were met with criticism from healthcare professionals that it wasn't robust enough. Although it did recommend specified training for health visitors and school nurses, it did not go as far as taxes on unnecessary unhealthy foods, restrictions on fast food outlets near schools or banning advertising of junk foods, said Neena Modi, the president of the RCPCH said.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.