Quarter of Year Six pupils tip scales in weight study

Banbury Cake: Childhood obesity is a growing issue for the county. Childhood obesity is a growing issue for the county.

MORE than a quarter of Year Six pupils in the county are overweight or obese, a new study has shown.

However, the report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), released on Wednesday, puts Oxfordshire below the national average.

And the figures are down on last year.

More than 6,800 children in the reception year, aged between four and five, were measured, and 6.3 per cent were classed as obese, with a further 11.7 per cent overweight. At a national level, 9.6 per cent are obese.

Children at the end of primary school, aged 10 to 11 in Year Six, were also measured. The figures show a greater proportion of older children are overweight or obese.

Of the 5,167 pupils aged between 10 and 11, 15.2 per cent were obese and 13.5 per cent classed as overweight. Nationally, 18.9 per cent of children in that age range are classed as obese.

In Oxfordshire this means that pupils at the upper end of primary school are just below the level of 2006/7 – 15.3 per cent. Last year, 15.6 per cent of students were obese. More than 90 per cent of students in the county were measured.

Banbury Cake:

Hilary Hibbert-Biles

Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for public health, said: “Although it is encouraging to see that Oxfordshire is still bucking the national trend when it comes to these figures, this doesn’t mean we are complacent about the fact unhealthy weight is still a problem for too many children in the county.

“This summer we ran an awareness-raising campaign to highlight the importance of a healthy diet and being active for 60 minutes a day, and for those who need practical assistance the council commissions Oxford Health NHS Trust to provide the free healthy lifestyle and weight management Reach for Health programme to families across Oxfordshire.”

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The county council has started a programme to tackle childhood obesity, offering group activity sessions and one-on-one weight advice for children as young as four.

HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: “These figures provide clear insight into the weight of the next generation on both a national and local scale.

“The first drop in obesity prevalence among Year Six stands out, although we will need to see what the numbers say in future years to determine if this is the start of a decline or more of a blip.”


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