More than a quarter of Havering children obese by the end of primary school, says Public Health England

Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Images

Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Images - Credit: PA WIRE

More than one in four children finishing primary school in Havering are obese, shocking new data has revealed.

Statistics from Public Health England show that 23pc of Year 6 pupils were declared obese, between April 2016 and March 2017, and 5.3pc severely obese.

On top of that 16.1pc of Year 6 children were declared overweight.

That means on average 44pc of Havering’s youngsters are unhealthily overweight when they start secondary school.

And despite school meals getting healthier the number of obese 10 and 11-year-olds in Year 6 has risen by 25%pc over the last five years.

The figures are from Public Health England’s National Child Measurement Programme.

Each year it measures the height and weight of more than one million children, aged between four and five and 10 and 11, to assess childhood obesity.

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Published in October 2016, Havering Council’s Prevention of Obesity Strategy 2016-2019 bases its strategy around three key areas: Shaping the environment to promote healthy eating, supporting a culture that sees phusical activity and healthy eating as the norm, and prompting individuals to change, primarily through self-help.

The council also established a permanent subgroup of the Health and Wellbeing Board two years ago to focus solely on tackling obesity.

In the foreword to the council’s strategy document, Councillor Wendy Price Thompson insisted everyone involved was working hard to “bring the obesity epidemic under control”.

She said: “Austerity isn’t a reason for doing nothing - it makes the case for action all the more persuasive.

“The solution isn’t investment in new specialist services.

“Rather everyone must do their bit, every day, in terms of the decisions they make, the advice they give and the actions they take to promote healthy eating and greater physical activity.”

Caroline Cerny, lead for the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of more than 40 organisations that have joined together to prevent obesity related ill health, described the figures as “startling”.

She added: “We’ve seen a certain amount of progress from government, including the implementation of the soft drinks levy from April this year. But far more needs to be done.”