Thousands of children leaving primary school severely obese, new figures show


Chair of the Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, said: "Children are becoming obese at an earlier age and staying obese for longer".

This is almost double the 14,787 out of 629,359 children (2.35%) of four and five year-old severely obese children in reception class.

The LGA research, published yesterday, blamed the £600m reduction in councils' public health budgets between 2015-16 and 2019-20 as a contributing factor to rising child obesity.

But the LGA warned essential prevention work, including the ability of councils to provide weight management services for children, is being hampered by an 800 million US dollar reduction in councils' public health budgets by Britain's central government.

Government needs to further help reduce childhood obesity by introducing tougher restrictions on the marketing and advertising of junk food, including by bringing in a 9pm advertising watershed.

The government should also give local authorities more powers to "limit the proliferation of unhealthy food outlets in their areas" and be able to limit junk food and drink billboard advertising near schools.

The need for a "whole systems" approach which requires the United Kingdom government to change the narrative around the issue and ensure we take responsibility as a nation.

The government will be called on to restrict discounting and price promotions from the ends of aisles in shops and supermarkets.

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Advertising of HFSS products is now banned across all children's media - including online and social - in a landmark decision created to help tackle childhood obesity.

Extending the sugar drinks levy to milk drinks. Fiscal measures should be put in place for the reformation of products where health targets aren't met.

Ensure robust systems are in place to identify and support children who are overweight or obese.

In response to the report, the BMA has stressed that this is an issue which must be addressed as soon as possible. But funding cuts and a high-stakes accountability regime has narrowed the curriculum in schools to focus on certain subjects, reducing the time available for physical activity and teaching children about healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

It comes after official figures revealed a third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

But characters like the Jolly Green Giant could still promote healthy food, the health select committee says.

Dr Modi Mwatsama, of the Obesity Health Alliance, said: "This is a superb report that reflects what obesity campaigners have always been saying - the United Kingdom is in the midst of an obesity epidemic and the Government must take strong measures to tackle childhood obesity if we're to prevent this spiralling beyond control".

"We hope the government will acknowledge it must do everything in its power to turn the tide on childhood obesity in the light of this timely report".