Childhood obesity rises during year of lockdowns


One in four 10-11 year olds is now classified as obese, following a year in which children spent weeks in lockdown and representing an unprecedented single year increase in childhood obesity levels.

Obesity levels rocketed in both reception class and year 6 groups by more than four percentage points between 2019-20 and 2020-21. The increase is the highest rise in a single year, since the National Childhood Measurement Programme began 15 years ago.

The figures show that almost one in seven children is already obese when they begin primary school in England. Among four and five year olds, the rates of obesity rose from 9.9 per cent in 2019-20 to 14.4 per cent in 2020-21.  By the time they are aged 10 or 11, more than a quarter are obese. In just 12 months, the rate is up from 21 per cent in 2019-20 to 25.5 per cent in 2020-21.

Tam Fry, the chairman of the National Obesity Forum, told the Guardian that the figures would “likely end any hope” that the government would succeed in its mission to halve childhood obesity in England by 2030.

“The figures are staggering and even worse than the forum feared. For two years we have had reports of children increasingly being kept at home because of Covid restrictions, endlessly snacking on junk food on top of the amount they regularly eat at meal times, and prevented from being able to play with friends to burn off excess calories.”

See more on the Guardian article here.

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