How the obesity rate doubled for the class of 2007

dreamstime_s_9910135The rate of obesity in primary school children in London doubles between Reception and Year 6. And the capital has the biggest problem of any region in the country with children who are overweight or classified as obese.

The findings come from analysis by Urbs Media of data from the National Child Measurement Programme over the last 9 years. Under this programme children are measured and weighed at the start and the end of primary school. It was set up by the government to help tackle obesity and covers children in all state schools, with around 95% taking part.

The most recent figures are for the 2013-14 school year and show that more than a fifth of children in Year 6 in London are classified as obese. That is more than double the rate for children in reception.

child obesity London

And this is not a recent phenomenon. Data going back to the 2006-07 school year shows a similar doubling in rates of obesity.

The Year 6 children from last year entered the school system in 2007. The data for that year shows that of the 74,235 Reception children measured, 10.8% or 8,017 were classified as obese.   In Year 6, 78,642 were measured. Many of the children may be different as families leave and arrive in the capital. But many will be the same. The rate of obesity for the class of 2007 had doubled by age 11.

London’s record looks even grimmer when children who are classified as overweight are added. In London, 38% of 11-year-olds are classified as overweight or obese. The North East and the West Midland have a very similar proportion of overweight 11-year-olds but a slightly lower rate of obese children.

child obesity regional

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to calculate levels of body fat to indicate whether someone is classified as underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese. For most adults a BMI above 30 indicates obesity. The index levels for each classification vary for children to take account of difference in growth rates at different ages.

The data for London shows a largely capital-wide problem with 7 boroughs (Hackney, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Lambeth and Southwark) with more that a quarter of Year 6 pupils classified as obese. Richmond stands out by having a much lower level. It also has a lower level of obese 5-year-olds, just 6%.

child obesity map

London has a better record on adult obesity than other regions of the country but the National Child Measurement Programme data shows a significant problem for youngsters that will lead to serious health issues in later lifer.

Much has been done in the recent year to raise awareness of the need for a good diet and the risks of being overweight. Despite that, the data shows that this has been  a consistent problem and it is not going away.

Source data

BMI calculator

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Size matters – and it depends where you live

Size matters – and it depends where you live

Obese copyLondon has a lower rate of adult obesity than any other region of England but there are large variations across the capital. 19.6% of Londoners are obese compared to the average for England of 23%. That goes up to a little over 25% in Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East.

But levels are even higher in some London boroughs as the map below shows.  Barking and Dagenham has 32% obesity and City of London 31%. That’s nearly three times the level in Kensington and Chelsea with 11.2%. Richmond also scores well with just 12.1% of residents classified as obese. It is double that in Hillingdon, Enfield, Bexley and Lewisham.

The data is based upon the Health Survey for England, the Sport England Active Person Survey and BMI information from the Understanding Society study for Health England.

Obesity is measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters. The NHS’s easy calculator is here. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal, healthy weight. Below 18.5 is underweight, above 25 is overweight and 30 and above is obese.

Londoners also score well when looking at that data for people at a normal, healthy weight. In London it’s 41% compared to 35% of people across England. And in Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond, and Hammersmith and Fulham 50% of people or more are in this category.

Source Data

Childhood obesity highest in London

Obesity_London_ 2The rate of obesity in young people aged 10-19 is 40 per cent higher in London than the rest of England. While London enjoys a good record compared to the national average in all adult age groups the numbers for youngsters suggest future health problems for London families.

Across England 3.1% of youngsters are classified as obese. But in London that figure jumps to 5.3%. In all other age groups London levels are below the national average.

Adult Obesity by age

The data is based upon the Health Survey for England, the Sport England Active Person Survey and BMI information from the Understanding Society study for Health England.

Obesity is measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters. The NHS’s easy calculator is here.  A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal, healthy weight. Below 18.5 is underweight, above 25 is overweight and 30 and above is obese.

Obesity is broken down into three categories – severely obese, morbidly obese and super obesity. All the children in London are in the first category. Across England there are a small number of teenagers in the other two.

Obesity is linked to a number of health problems, including type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

Source data