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Reduction in Leeds child obesity levels

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  • by Katie Baldwin
 

Child obesity levels in Leeds have fallen but a third of youngsters are still too heavy, latest figures reveal.

According to new statistics, 33.8 per cent of 10- and 11-year-olds are overweight or obese, compared to 35 per cent last year.

Levels of obesity remained the same but the proportion of year six pupils who were overweight has dropped.

Among pupils aged four and five in Leeds, there was a very slight fall in the proportion who were overweight or obese, from 22.9 to 22.8 per cent.

However there has still been a sizable increase in weight problems among youngsters in the city over the past seven years.

The proportion of reception class children who are overweight has gone up by 20 per cent while obesity among 10 and 11-year-olds has risen by 10 per cent, data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows.

Ian Cameron, director of public health for Leeds, said the issue was one of their main priorities.

“Reducing obesity in 10 and 11-year-olds is one of the indicators we are using to measure the progress we make helping people live longer, healthier lives,” he said.

“In common with other areas, we still have more to do and that is why it remains such an important part of the health and wellbeing strategy for the city.”

Coun Lisa Mulherin, chairman of the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Any indication that we are making some progress in reducing childhood obesity in Leeds is welcome. Working with colleagues in the council, the NHS and voluntary sector to encourage healthier lifestyles, we are determined to give children the best start possible.”

In Wakefield, there was a very slight drop in the proportion over pupils in their final year of primary school who were too heavy while levels remained virtually the same among younger children.

That was also the case across Yorkshire for year six children – though a third remain overweight or obese – while there was a slight fall in younger pupils who weighed too much.

Nationally, the proportion of 10 and 11-year-olds who were obese or overweight fell for the first time in six years. It is the first recorded reduction in the history of the National Child Measurement Programme.

 

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