“These latest figures are yet another reminder of the scale of the childhood obesity challenge we face and the need for urgent action and investment in public health in order to reverse this trend."
Responding to the latest National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) statistics for 2019/20, which shows that rates of children who are overweight or obese have increased, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth said:
“These latest figures are yet another reminder of the scale of the childhood obesity challenge we face and the need for urgent action and investment in public health in order to reverse this trend.
“Children’s ability to learn, as well as their emotional and physical wellbeing, can be negatively affected by unhealthy weight. Unless we solve this crisis, today’s obese children will become tomorrow’s obese adults – with an increased likelihood of issues such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
“Bolder action is needed, especially to reduce the gap between the most and least deprived. This means increasing targeted services and support for the communities that need it most, ensuring every child has access to healthy food and a healthy lifestyle.
“Councils can help the Government meet its target of halving childhood obesity by 2030 with significant additional investment in public health and greater powers to tackle clustering of existing takeaways and to restrict junk food advertising.
“It is also vital that councils are able to decide how the hundreds of millions of pounds raised from the sugar levy is invested, to ensure that our children get the best start in life.”
Councils have worked hard to increase participation rates in NCMP since gaining responsibility for the programme and in 2018/19 weighed 1.2 million children (over 95% of all eligible children). This year only 890,608 were measured due to school closures as a result of COVID-19. Despite the lower than usual number of measurements, at a national level, analysis by NHS Digital indicates that these figures are directly comparable to previous years, for all breakdowns.