Childhood obesity

Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to become obese adults and have a higher risk of long term conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (among others) and premature death. Children who are obese are also more likely to be absent from school due to illness and are at increased risk of stigmatisation, bullying and low self-esteem (Rees and others, 2009), which has significant consequences for mental and physical health (Griffiths and others, 2011); (Wijga and others, 2010).

There is strong evidence that, once established, obesity is difficult to reverse through interventions and tracks through to adulthood (Waters 2011). Through effective prevention the harmful consequences of obesity can be avoided.

How has the proportion of obese 4-5 year old children changed over time?

The proportion of reception aged children who are overweight or obese was approximately 22% in 2015/16. Overall, the percentage of reception aged children who are overweight, obese or underweight has remained broadly stable between 2006/07 and 2015/16.

Updated November 2016.

How has the proportion of obese 10-11 year old children changed over time?

One in three children in year 6 were overweight or obese in 2014/15. This is considerably higher than the proportion of obese children in reception year. The proportion of year 6 children who are obese has increased by 1.6 percentage points since 2006/07. The proportion who are overweight or underweight has remained stable over this time period.

About this data

The National Childhood Measurement Programme started in 2005.

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