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Highest rates of childhood obesity in those living in deprived areas

December 3, 2014: Latest figures show that rates of obesity among children are highest for those living in the most deprived areas(2) of England.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional data is available within this report

Today's report, National Child Measurement Programme: England, 2013-14 school year, shows whether children in state schools in reception (aged four to five years) and year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years) are categorised as underweight, healthy, overweight or obese due to their body mass index (BMI).

It shows that in 2013-14, obesity prevalence among reception year children attending schools in the most deprived areas was 12.0 per cent, compared to 6.6 per cent among those in the least deprived areas. For year 6 children, obesity prevalence among children attending schools in the most deprived areas was 24.7 per cent, compared with 13.1 per cent among those in the least deprived areas.

The overall percentage of obese children in reception in 2013-14 was 9.5 per cent, whereas in year 6, the figure was more than double that (19.1 per cent).

Today's report also showed that in 2013-14:

  • The prevalence of childhood obesity varied by local authority:
    • In reception, the range was from 5.5 per cent in Windsor and Maidenhead3 to 14.4 per cent in Hackney4
    • In year 6, the range was from 11.1 per cent in Richmond upon Thames to 26.7 per cent in Southwark
  • The prevalence of obesity was found to be higher among boys in both school years:
    • In reception, 9.9 per cent of boys and 9.0 per cent of girls were classified as obese
    • In year 6, 20.8 per cent of boys and 17.3 per cent of girls were classified as obese
  • In reception, over a fifth (22.5 per cent) of children measured were either overweight or obese. This was higher than in 2012-13 (22.2 per cent) but lower than in 2006-075 (22.9 per cent)
  • In year 6, around a third (33.5 per cent) of the children measured were either overweight or obese. This was higher than in 2012-13 (33.3 per cent) and also higher than in 2006-07 (31.6 per cent)
  • The overall prevalence of underweight children was lower in reception (0.9 per cent) than in year 6 (1.4 per cent).

pdf icon Prevalence of obese children in year 6, by local authority, England, 2013-14 [78kb]

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: "Today's figures are important to improving understanding of obesity in children. They show a clear difference in levels of obesity depending on where children live, with the most deprived areas of England seeing the highest prevalence.

"This information will be of use nationally by policy makers and locally by health professionals and organisations in the commissioning of services, as well as in raising awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle among families."

You can view the full report at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/ncmpeng1314 

ENDS


Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. Deprivation is based on the 2010 Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), which classifies children into a deprivation decile based on the location of their school. The IMD decile is based on the location of school postcode to make the results comparable with those of previous years. More information on IMD is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/6871/1871208.pdf
  3. It should be noted that the participation rate for Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead was particularly low at 34.2 per cent. This may impact on the obesity prevalence rate if those children measured were not representative of all children in the local authority.
  4. Figures for London Borough of Hackney also include City of London.
  5. The NCMP was established in 2005-06. It now holds eight years of reliable data (2006-07 is the first year that the data were considered to be of an acceptable quality). The participation rate in 2005-06 was only 48 per cent.
  6. For media enquiries please contact media@hscic.gov.uk or 0300 30 33 888.
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