One child in every 25 in final year of primary school is acutely obese

One child in every class in the final year of primary school is severely obese on average, an all-time high, official figures show.

Public Health England (PHE) said that one in 25 (4.07%) of 10- to 11-year-olds in year six in 2016-17 were severely obese, meaning they are at risk of serious acute and chronic health problems.

The statistics, published on Tuesday, also identified an upward trend in the proportion of year six children who are overweight and those who are obese.

Severe obesity increases risk of diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. It is defined as a body mass index (BMI) on or above the 99.6th percentile for a child’s age and sex, based on a growth reference calculated using historic data. A higher proportion of boys – approximately one in 21 or 4.78% – were found to be severely obese than girls – one in 30 or 3.33% – in 2016-17.

Last month, the government announced the latest component in its childhood obesity plan, intended to help halve childhood obesity by 2030.

The measures, which will go out for consultation later this year, include banning shops from offering special “two for the price of one” deals near supermarket checkouts for food high in sugar, fat or salt.

Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said the severe obesity figure was a result of government negligence and warned its plan to turn things around is “not as bold as it should be”. More

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