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One third of year 6 overweight?

3rd March 2008

Government figures have revealed that almost one third of children leaving primary school (10-11) are either overweight or obese.

bad food

Statistics released by the National Child Measurement Programme also showed that almost a quarter of children aged four to five were overweight. The Programme has taken the weights and measurements of 80% of primary school children in their first and last years.

Boys showed more likelihood of being overweight or obese. 19% of boys aged 10 to 11 were overweight or obese.

London had the highest proportion of overweight children with 11.3% beginning school and 20.8% in Year six. The southeast coast had the least overweight pupils, with 8.5% overweight children starting school, and the southwest the least for those leaving school, with 14.9%.

Dawn Primarolo, the Public Health Minister, said that it was "encouraging" that such a high number of children had been measured.

She said that the measurements were "key to ensuring that families, communities, public services, industry and Government take the right action in tackling obesity."

She added that providing the "right information and support to parents" about "healthy diet and regular exercise for children, we hope to support families to lead healthier lives.�

Tam Fry, of the Child Growth Foundation, stated that the increasing levels of overweight children in primary school was a cause for concern. She said this represented - despite bids to tackle the problem - a 10% increase in the first five years.

Kevin Brennan, the Children’s Minister, reported that some measures had been put in place already, such as a ban on junk food in school vending machines.

He added that 86% of children took "at least" two hours of physical exercise every week at school and this would be increased to five hours by 2011.




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