One in three 11-year-olds are now classed as overweight
New research by the Health & Social Care Information Centre suggests 180,000 Year 6 pupils aged 10 or 11 are overweight, and at the most extreme end one in five are obese.
The report also reveals a growing gap in obesity levels between England’s richest and poorest kids, with children in the most deprived areas twice as likely to be obese.
Some regions have particularly high levels for Year 6 with Southwark and Newham in London topping the table at 43.2%.
Experts warn overweight youngsters have a higher risk of cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses later in life.
Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, said: “It’s shocking. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults and being overweight could cause 10 types of cancer.
“There’s an urgent need for the Government to tackle obesity, starting with junk food marketing.”
But while the problem is growing in Year 6, the proportion of overweight children in reception class is slowly falling.
In 2014/15, 9.1% of children starting reception were obese, compared with 9.9% in 2005/06.
In total, 21.9% aged four and five are now overweight or obese, which is also lower than 2005/06, when it was 22.9%.
But by the time children leave primary school, aged 10 or 11, 33.2% are overweight or obese – up from 31.6% in 2006/07.
Eustace De Sousa, national lead for children, young people and families at Public Health England, said tackling child obesity is a major priority for the Government.
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