Kids in these parts of Derbyshire among most likely to be obese in the UK

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

Kids in Lowgates and Woodthorpe in Chesterfield are among the most likely in the country to be obese or overweight.

Figures from the annual National Child Measurement Programme show that a shocking 26 per cent of Year Six children (those aged 10 and 11) in the ward are considered obese, while a further 15 per cent are overweight.

It means more than two in every five are heavier than is considered healthy.

Similarly, 16 per cent of Reception-aged children (four-and-five-year-olds) in Lowgates and Woodthorpe are obese, and another 15 per cent are heavier than they should be.

The area not only has the highest rate of childhood obesity and excess weight in Derbyshire - it also ranks in the top two per cent of all council wards in England.

You can see how your ward compares by using our postcode-search gadget:

Caroline Cerny, alliance lead at Obesity Health Alliance, said: “These are extremely worrying numbers. Excess weight in childhood can lead to a number of health problems and often negatively affects children's self-esteem.

"Children with a weight classified as obese are much more likely to still be living with obesity as adults which can increase their risk of diseases like type-two diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

"But it doesn’t have to be like this. The Government can play a key role in shaping an environment that makes it easier for families to be healthier.

"We are pleased that the Government has recently announced plans to bring in new stricter rules about how and where unhealthy foods can be promoted, including a 9pm watershed on TV and online and removal of sugary foods from checkouts."

Measuring obesity in children is more complex than it is in adults.

While an adult with a BMI of 25 to 30 is overweight and one with a BMI of 30 or over is obese, a child's BMI naturally changes as they grow up and is different for boys and girls.

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As such, there is no fixed BMI cut-off for a child to be classed as overweight or obese; instead, their BMI is also compared to the range of BMIs seen for children of the same age and sex through growth charts.

Across the country, 20 per cent of 10-and-11-year-olds and 10 per cent of four-and-five-year-olds are obese, while a further 14 per cent of Year Six pupils and 13 per cent of kids in Reception are overweight.

Many other wards in Derbyshire also see rates of obese and overweight children that exceed this national average.

Sinfin, in Derby, also has high proportions of children struggling with their weight - similar to Lowgates and Woodthorpe - with 29 per cent of children in Year Six and 13 per cent of Reception pupils considered obese.

A further 13 per cent of 10-and-11-year-olds and 13 per cent of four-and-five-year-olds in the ward are overweight.

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Meanwhile, Brampton and Walton, in North East Derbyshire, has the lowest proportion of childhood obesity and excess weight in Derbyshire - and one of the lowest rates in the country.

There, just 4 per cent of Reception kids and 13 per cent of those in Year Six are clinically obese, while a further 9 per cent of four-and-five-year-olds and 12 per cent of 10-and-11-year-olds are overweight.

The Government has recently announced measures to tackle childhood obesity, including a ban on the advertising of food high in fat, sugar or salt on television and online before 9pm.

The strategy also includes restricting volume promotions, ending the promotion of high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt products by volume and location, both online and in store, and introducing calorie labelling for food and drink in large restaurants, cafes and takeaways.

A Government spokesperson said: “We are determined to tackle the problem of obesity across all ages and this week launched a world leading strategy to help reduce obesity rates and help everyone live healthier lives.

“We have already made huge progress towards our goal of halving childhood obesity by 2030 – cutting sugar from half of drinks on sale, funding exercise programmes in schools and working with councils to tackle child obesity locally through our trailblazers.”

However, the Labour Party is sceptical of the announcement.

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Alex Norris MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Minister, said: “Labour has long campaigned for radical action to tackle obesity.

“We’ve had big promises before from Tory ministers on banning junk food advertising only for measures to be kicked into the long grass of consultation.

“But an effective obesity strategy needs action, not consultation. The Tories have pared public health to the bone and people are paying the price for ten years of this complacency.”

Labour’s own analysis has highlighted an ongoing and growing problem, with 700 children in England admitted to hospital because of obesity between April 2018 and April 19 - the second-highest number on record.

They also found that less than half of children (47 per cent) were meeting current physical activity guidelines.

Meanwhile, early research has suggested that Covid-19 lockdowns worsen childhood obesity.

Last month, experts warned that the coronavirus lockdown could lead to a rise in obesity for a generation of kids, with a lack of exercise potentially leading to weight gain for many children.

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/kids-parts-derbyshire-among-most-4387564