Suffolk: Child obesity increases by 10% between starting and finishing primary school in the county

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
6:03 PM

The number of children in Suffolk who are medically obese when they leave primary school is almost 10% higher than it is for those just starting.

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That’s according to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre published today (December 11).

The figures are based on measurements taken of children in Reception and Year 6 classes for the school year 2012-13.

The country is split up into areas served by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which were replaced by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) earlier this year.

And in the former Suffolk PCT area while 7.6% of pupils in Reception are classed as obese this climbs to 16.9% by the time they make the move to secondary school, a rise of 9.3%.

The figures for North East Essex PCT’s former area is similar rising from 7.7% to 16.7%, a jump of exactly 9%.

Councillor Alan Murray, cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “We work very closely with the children and their parents to educate and encourage them to lead healthy lives.

“Eating healthy, nutritionally-balanced meals and taking part in regular exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Our popular Alive and Kicking programme helps young people and their families to tackle obesity and the negative impact it can have.

“We all need to take these issues seriously and work together to reduce the rates of child obesity in Suffolk.”

Joanna Spicer, chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “The Health and Wellbeing Board has made a priority of preventing and tackling childhood obesity in Suffolk.

“All members agree that encouraging people to be more active, including walking more, is essential.

“While parents hold the ultimate responsibility for what their children eat and how much exercise they do, it’s important that all influences on a child’s life play a part in this.

“That includes GP surgeries and schools knowing how each child is doing and taking appropriate action where necessary.

“A person’s weight during childhood is a key indicator of their likely health and wellbeing in later life so it’s vital that these results are taken seriously.”

However compared to other parts of the country the two areas are doing okay.

Suffolk and North East Essex are both just under the East of England’s and the country’s averages of 17% and 18.9% respectively for primary school leavers.

And they’re also 1.5% lower than the equivalent figures for Norfolk.

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