Prevalence of Excess Weight Amongst Primary School Children

Using the National Child Measurement Programme data of primary school children, NHS digital states that:

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers that childhood obesity is reaching alarming proportions in many countries and poses an urgent and serious challenge. Children with obesity are more likely to be ill, be absent from school due to illness, experience health-related limitations and require more medical care than healthy-weight children. Overweight and obese children are also more likely to become obese adults and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood. (1,2)

  • In England, the health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS more than £6.1billion every year. (3)
  • More than 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese when they begin school and 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese by the time, they leave primary school
  • Obesity rates are highest in the most deprived 10% of the population – approximately twice that of the least deprived 10%
  • Obesity rates are higher in some ethnic minority groups of children (particularly among children from black and Bangladeshi ethnicities, though this varies by age and sex of the child)

The graph below shows obesity prevalence by deprivation decile 2017/18. This shows that the most deprived areas have an increased prevalence of obesity.

Obesity prevalence

Figure 3 Obesity prevalence

  1. World Health Organization. Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. 2016. WHO Press. Geneva.
  2. Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer: surveillance Volume 2012: On the State of the Public’s Health.
  3. Public Health England. Health Matters: Obesity and the food environment. March 2016.–2
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