More than 3,400 children in Suffolk aged 2-16 are ‘severely obese’
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Childhood obesity was top of the agenda at Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board yesterday - as it was revealed more than 3,400 children between the age of two and 16 in Suffolk are ‘severely obese’.
The meeting, at Endeavour House in Ipswich, brought together representatives from the county's healthcare, social care, education, transport, policing and housing sectors as well as councillors and community groups to discuss the big health and wellbeing issues affecting the county.
During the meeting, the board voted to endorse Suffolk's Childhood Obesity Action Plan which looks to bring together these sectors in a 'whole system approach'.
It has been revealed that year 6 children in Ipswich are now above the national average for being overweight or obese while 3,459 children aged 2-16 in Suffolk are considered 'severely obese', qualifying for the tier-three weight management service.
The board heard childhood obesity particularly affects children in more deprived areas.
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However, there seems to be some progress being made.
Suffolk's top three school meal providers have been able to demonstrate a 20% decrease in sugar content in their meals while Public Health Suffolk have been offering grants of £1,000, through the Suffolk Community Foundation, to support organisations combating childhood obesity. The board also heard 30% of primary and nursery schools were now taking part in the Daily Mile scheme.
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However, Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger said was disappointed more schools hadn't got involved. She said more should be done in schools to promote physical education, adding it often gets ignored compared to other subjects.
Councillor Tony Goldson, who chaired the meeting, said it was important to give families better and cheaper options for healthy eating, especially in more deprived areas.
He said parents often have to go for the quick fast-food option when feeding their children, especially if both are working full-time to provide for their family.
Nicki Cooper, senior health improvement commissioner - children and young people at Public Health Suffolk, said: "I think there is something about weight stigma as well.
"It is important to be able to discuss it and to teach children about it without people feeling stigmatised."