Leeds becomes first city in UK to lower its childhood obesity rate
A Leeds scheme teaching parents to be stricter with children has been linked to a drop in childhood obesity, it is reported.
Research involving Oxford University found the eight-week programme showing parents how to "take charge" has spared hundreds of children in Leeds from obesity, the Telegraph reported.
It said 6,000 families in Leeds had been given the lessons, which costs councils £50 per family, with 625 children a year "saved" from obesity.
The programme is aimed particularly at poorer areas.
Professor Susan Jebb, of Oxford University, the Government's former obesity tsar, said: "If you look at it by deprivation, the most deprived group in Leeds is doing especially well. That is astonishing.
"It's about helping parents find solutions. None of us are born with parenting skills. Most of us have to make it up as we go along," according to the paper.
Rates of obesity in five-year-olds in Leeds dropped from 9.4% to 8.8% between 2013-14 and 2016-17, while remaining unchanged in England as a whole at around 9.4% over the same period, the paper reported.
One in three children leaves primary school overweight or obese and the number of children classed as seriously obese is at a record high, according the Department of Health and Social Care.
The department has called the current situation in the UK a "rising epidemic in childhood obesity".