Growing toll of obese kids - It’s now become an epidemic, say chiefs

NEW figures have revealed an obesity “epidemic” among Calderdale children.

The latest National Child Measurement Programme has confirmed Calderdale’s worrying year-on-year trend for more overweight or obese children.

For 2010/11, 20.2 per cent of children in Reception and 33 per cent of Year 6 children fell into that category – which is one in five four- to five-year-olds and one in three 10-11-year-olds.

This is a rise on last year’s figures, where 19.9 per cent of Reception children and 30.4 per cent of Year 6 pupils were overweight or obese.

The biggest increase overall is in the number of overweight children.

Calderdale now has highest number of overweight children aged 10/11 in West Yorkshire and the second highest in Yorkshire and the Humber, after north- east Lincolnshire.

The percentage of children classed as a healthy weight fell from 78.6 per cent in Reception to 65.4 per cent of those in Year 6.

Gaynor Scholefield, public health manager for NHS Calderdale, said: “The figures mean we must continue to tackle this obesity epidemic in Calderdale.

“We also know that adult obesity in Calderdale is getting worse, with 27 per cent of adults in Calderdale now obese. This is worse than the England average of 24 per cent.

“Excess weight stores up problems for the future and is a leading cause of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, adding costs to the NHS – money that could be spent on other priorities, not to mention the many lives being blighted each day.

“In Calderdale we are continuing to work with a range of partners to develop new approaches and will build on the successful outcomes of the Healthy Town’s Programme. Much can be achieved if we all pull together – both as individuals and as partners with a role in supporting and helping individuals so that the healthier choices become easier choices.”

More than a million pupils take part in the NHS Information Centre-run NCMP, which measures the height and weight of children in reception and year six.

Anyone concerned about their weight, or that of a child’s can visit www.nhs.uk/change4life or call 0300 1234567 or speak to a GP who can refer to local weight management services