Fat map reveals childhood obesity6th July 2009
New statistics collected as part of a national measuring scheme has shown significant variations in levels of childhood obesity in different parts of Britain.
In some areas with the worst records, children aged under five had quadruple the likelihood of being obese compared with districts with the best levels.
In Stockton-on-Tees in the north-east of the country, one in six children were dangerously overweight by the time they began primary school.
In comparison, only one in 25 children were obese by the age of five in Adur in Sussex.
The figures showed that on average one in ten children in England is obese by the age of five.
The highest levels of obesity were in Stockton-on-Tees, Merseyside, east London and North Yorkshire.
The data also showed that 32.6% of children were either overweight or obese by the time they began secondary school.
Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "The evidence is mounting that obesity starts early – even in the first year of life."
"What many parents will consider puppy fat usually stays with children for their lives, and leads to untold health problems."
Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said the statistics revealed "a horrifying social divide".
Government forecasts suggest that 90% of the male population will be overweight within 15 years and 50% of the population will be obese within 25 years.
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Title: Fat map reveals childhood obesity
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 12036
Date Added: 6th Jul 2009