Map reveals UK cities where up to half of kids are fat before they start secondary school | The Sun

NEARLY half of all Year 6 children are overweight or obese in England’s worst affected area, official data shows.

Some 47.2 per cent of kids in Knowsley, Merseyside, met the criteria last year, according to NHS England figures.

This was nearly twice the rate of 24.9 per cent in Surrey.

Nationally, the figure stands at 36.6 per cent for children aged 10 to 11, which MPs and doctors say is a “disgrace”.

John Maingay, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Childhood obesity rates are still far too high despite some small improvements. 

“Every child deserves to grow up in the best possible health, but children living in the poorest areas are twice as likely to be living with obesity. 

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“Children living with obesity are much more likely to live with obesity as adults, which means a greater risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases.

“The Government needs to move fast and implement its delayed plans to restrict junk food marketing to children, and it needs to incentivise businesses to produce healthier foods.”  

The NHS announced it is setting up 10 more clinics for obese children to cope with bulging demand earlier this year.

Experts have raised concern about soaring levels, with hospital admissions for obesity in under-17s surging 40 per cent in a year in 2021 to 2022.

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The clinics offer diet plans and mental health coaching to severely obese children that are suffering complications.

Regionally, after Knowsley, Barking and Dagenham in London had the highest rate of overweight and obese Year 6 children, with 45.7 per cent.

It was followed by Newham in London (45.5 per cent), Sandwell (45.3 per cent) and Wolverhampton (44.1 per cent) — both in the West Midlands.

For comparison, rates were 25.1 per cent in Richmond upon Thames in London and 27.3 per cent in Wokingham, Berkshire.

Overall, 22.6 per cent of Year 6 children were obese, while 13.9 per cent are overweight.

Preet Kaur Gill, Labour’s shadow primary care and public health minister, said: “We need decisive action to tackle the childhood obesity crisis. 

“It is a disgrace that almost a quarter of children are obese by the time they leave primary school. 

“Excess weight has lasting consequences on children's health and will cost the NHS billions.”

Some 30.1 per cent of children in Knowsley were either overweight or obese when starting school, the data also showed.

Some 27.5 per cent of reception age children in Newcastle upon Tyne were as well.

For comparison, rates were 14.4 per cent in Wokingham.

Dr Mike McKean, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “It is unacceptable that children living in deprived areas are twice as likely to be overweight. 

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“Two in five children are leaving primary school overweight and are at a higher risk of chronic illnesses, mental health issues and even a shorter life span. 

“To have such a disadvantage before even starting secondary school is a national disgrace.”

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