A third of 10 and 11-year-olds obese in two areas of London

shutterstock_291654485-2London’s record on childhood obesity has been poor and getting worst for some time. But data for small areas released by Public Health England raise new levels of concern as in two neigbbourhoods a third of the 10 and 11-year old children are now obese.

In the electoral ward of Camberwell Green, Southwark 34% of Year 6 children are obese. In Hoxton West in Hackney its 33%.  Only one other area of England has a higher level – 35% in Sutton-on-Sea in Lincolnshire.

The Public Health England data covers nearly 7,500 electoral wards in England and it shows that six of the ten worst areas for childhood obesity among Year 6 children are in London.

Obesity Year 6 wards-2

It’s a similar pattern for children in Reception, aged 4 and 5, where Woodberry Down ward in Hackney has the worst record in the country and a rate that is double the England average. Six other neighbourhoods in the capital are also among the worst ten in England for this age group.

Obesity reception ward-2

This small area data is gathered by Public Health England to help target resources to combat child weight problems.

The poor record on obesity for primary school children is reflected more broadly at borough level and underlines that London has one of the most severe problems in the country.

At Reception age,  six of the ten local authorities with the highest rates are in London.  The highest level local authority average rate in the England is nearly 14% in Barking and Dagenham. Greenwich, Newham, Hackney, Southwark and Tower Hamlets all have rates of 12% or above.

The obesity rates in these boroughs doubles for Year 6 children. Enfield and Westminster also have more than a quarter of Year 6 children classified as obese.  Eight of the ten local authorities in England with the highest obesity rates for 10 and 11-year olds are in London.

Source data

See also

How the obesity rate doubled for the class of 2007

Childhood obesity highest in London

Thousands of children sent to hospital because of tooth decay


Borough Profile: Tower Hamlets



Tower Hamlets has a population of 297,805, that’s 3.5% of the 8.6 million people living in London

The average age of the population is 31.3 years old, that’s 4.6 years younger than the London average. The under 16s in the borough outnumber the over 65s. Children and young people under 16 make up 20% of the population compared to 6% for the over 65s.

People who are black, Asian or of minority ethnic origin, BAME, represent 54% of the residents. 38% of the people living in Tower Hamlets were born abroad. The largest migrant group according to the last census is from Bangladesh and makes up 15% of the population. The second largest group, based on the census is from India. More recently the largest number of migrants have come from Italy and Spain.


The median house price in the borough is £383,000.   Those who rent outnumber owner occupiers with 7% owning their home outright and a further 20% with a mortgage compared to 32% who rent privately and a further 42% living in social housing rented from the council or a housing association.

The council tax on a Band D property (the mid-tier cost in most local authorities) is £1,181.


The crime rate in Tower Hamlets is 100 crimes per 1,000 residents, which is higher than the London average of 84 and is among the highest in the capital.

The Area

Tower Hamlets covers an area of 1,978 hectares compared to the biggest borough, Bromley, which covers more than 15,000. The smallest borough, not counting the City of London, is Kensington and Chelsea, which covers around 1,200 hectares.

Some 15% of the area is classified as green space. The average for London is 38%.


The employment rate in the Tower Hamlets is below the national average with 70% of people in work. The median annual salary for men is £36,638 and for women it is lower at £32,423.  The median income for a household in the borough is £45,720.

The workforce is among the less qualified in London with 46% of workers who are educated to degree level or above. 10% have no qualifications and 3% of young people under 25 are listed as NEETS (that’s not in education, employment or training).


There are 43,589 cars in the borough, which equates to 0.4 cars per household.  Tower Hamlets is rated as above average for public transport, based on an index compiled by Transport for London. According to Government data on physical activity, 19.3% of people cycle each month.

Health and Well-being

Men living in Tower Hamlets can expect to live until they are 78, for women life expectancy is 83 years. The borough has a death rate from what are considered to be preventable causes of 238.7 per 100,000 people. The national rate for England is 182.

Other health indicators show that 7% of people over 17 suffer from diabetes and 27% of children are classified as obese.

When asked in a Government survey to rate their satisfaction with life the average score of people in the borough was 7.2 out of 10, which is below average for London.

See other borough profiles

Source Data

Teenage survey finds that Richmond has highest level of cannabis use

spliff-2The affluent borough of Richmond has the highest level of young people smoking cannabis in London.

A national survey of 15-year-olds found that 19% living in Richmond had tried the drug.  This is the second highest rate in England – the highest is 24% in Brighton.

Across London, 27% of 15-year-olds say that they have been offered cannabis, in line with the national rate.  A little over 1 in 10 say that they have tried smoking the drug but rates are higher in 13 boroughs.

Richmond stands out as having the highest rates, and as reported by Urbs, also has the highest proportion of teenagers drinking alcohol and getting drunk. 16% of 15 year-olds in Lambeth and Islington say they have tried cannabis, with 15% in Camden, Haringey, Lewisham and Wandsworth.

Cannabis map

Rates are much lower in the east of the capital. Just 6% in Tower Hamlets and Redbridge, 7% in Newham and 8% in Barking and Dagenham, and Havering.

The data from the What About YOUth survey reveals that young people from a mixed ethnic background are most likely to have been offered and tried cannabis.  Those from Asian backgrounds are least likely.  93% say they have never smoked the drug, according to the survey, compared to 89% of all 15-year-olds.

Richmond also has the highest rates for teenagers who say they have smoked cannabis in the last year (17%) and in the last month (8.5%).

The survey offered little evidence of a link between cannabis and other drugs. Just 3% of 15-year-olds in London say that they have tried other drugs, though rates are between 5-6% in Bromley, Haringey and Camden.

Source data

See also

Kensington teenage girls have the most negative body image in England

Teens saying no to booze, but Richmond tops list for 15-year-olds getting drunk

Low drug-related death rates hide middle-aged heroin problem


Huge pay gap in hourly rates between full time and part time workers

Daniel Wilson shutterstock_95849584-1-2-1People working part time are paid a little over half the hourly rate of those working in full-time employment, and the gap between full time and part time rates is wider in London than any area of the country.

Latest figures for earnings from the Office for National Statistics show that the median hourly rate in London is £9.22 if you work part time but £16.16 for those with a full-time job.

A quarter of the jobs in London are part time and many of them are low skilled. That’s 1.24 million jobs, with some people doing more than one to make up full time hours but being paid a fraction of what they might earn as a full time employee.

In London the gap in hourly rates of pay is 43% but in every other region of the country it is 40% of less. In the South West of England part time workers earn an hourly rate of 68% the full time rate, compared to 57% in London.

The median hourly rate for part time work in the capital is just 14p higher than the next nearest region, the South East of England, but £1.20 higher than the lowest paid region, the North East.

Hourly earnings part time regional

The figures are based on a sample of PAYE records and the ONS calculates a median, or mid point, rather than an average, which might be distorted by a small number of very high rates.

People living in Newham have a lower hourly part time rate than any region of the country and are typically being paid less than those living in Newcastle or Sunderland, where the cost of living is lower.

The rate is only a little higher in neighbouring Tower Hamlets and across the capital median hourly rates for part time workers are below the London Living Wage in 15 of the 33 boroughs – Croydon, Merton, Greenwich, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Hounslow, Ealing, Brent, Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Enfield and Waltham Forest.

Hourly earnings part time map

The Greater London Authority sets the London Living Wage. It is a voluntary rate and promoted by the Mayor, who is trying to get employers to sign up. At the time of the earnings survey in April the London Living Wage was £9.15. It was increased to £9.40 in October.

As previously reported by Urbs, there are three quarters of a million jobs in London paying less than the Living Wage.  Data shows that women are more likley than men to be in low paid work, and nearly half of those working for less than the London Living Wage are under 24.

Source data

See also

Lowest paid living in Newham as rates remain static across capital

Over 750,000 jobs pay less than the living wage in the capital

Buying a home gets further out of reach, now 11 times annual salary



105,000 extra secondary pupils pose huge challenge for capital’s schools

Monkey Business Images shutterstock_284502440-1-2

Photo: Monkey Business Images ┃Shutterstock.com

London needs the equivalent of 90 new secondary schools to deal with the growth in pupil numbers over the next decade.

The number of children of secondary school age is projected to rise by 26.5%, and there’ll be an increase of 9% in primary pupils by 2024/25.

The Greater London Authority’s Intelligence Unit made these projections and in the introduction to its report the Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, Munira Mirza, says: “Meeting the demand for secondary places over the next decade is the foremost educational challenge facing London today.”

The rise in numbers has been driven by an increasing birth rate, up 28% between 2001/02 and 2011/12. The GLA Intelligence Unit also says that there has been a reduction in the number of young families leaving London since the financial crisis of 2008.

This increase in children has already placed pressure on primary schools but it will soon feed into the secondary schools.

Currently there are 394,000 pupils aged 11-15 attending state secondary schools in London. By 2024/25 that number is projected to have grown by 105,000. That’s equivalent to 3,500 secondary school classes.

The GLA’s projections show that the rise in pupils is spread right across the capital. The biggest increase is in Barking and Dagenham with nearly 5,900 additional pupils. Tower Hamlets, Redbridge, Croydon, Brent and Hounslow also see a steep rise in demand. The smallest increase is in Kensington and Chelsea.

Secondary school places

These numbers reflect the increase in demand not a shortfall in school places. A number of pupils might be accommodated through available capacity or new schools or extensions to existing ones that are planned.

However, a projection on the shortfall in places by London Councils (a body that represents the boroughs) reported by Urbs, estimates that 34,000 secondary pupils could be without a school place in the next 5 years alone.

As the GLA report points out, finding a solution will not be quick or easy as building new secondary school takes longer and is more expensive than developing primary schools due to the size and facilities required.

Source data

See also

34,000 pupils could be without a secondary school place in next 5 years

Violence, disruption and drugs – why 20,000 pupils were excluded from school last year

Private school? Depends where you live

Health and wealth – an East/West divide when it comes to a flu jab

doctor reads chartIt’s flu vaccine season, and although a jab is no guarantee of protection, doctors urge the most vulnerable to have it done.

That call is taken up enthusiastically by the elderly in East of the city with vaccination rates over 75% in Newham and Tower Hamlets.  But in the more affluent West London boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea the proportion of over 65s having it done is far lower, down to a little over 60%.

Flu jab map-2

The vaccine is given free to the over 65s and historically about 70% of elderly Londoners have heeded the health advice. But last year the proportion dropped slightly in the capital while it has remained consistent across England.

Flu vaccination is also given free of charge to pregnant women and children aged between 2 and 6.

The problem with providing an effective vaccine is that influenza is constantly mutating. Last year the vaccine offered little protection against the main strain of the disease that spread through the UK. Doctors are hoping that that failure will not push down rates of immunization this winter.

Source data

See also

Sexual infection map shows problems for Lambeth and Southwark

Well-being and wealth – how South West London soars ahead of the rest

Nearly 9,500 deaths a year – study reveals impact of air pollution

Rise in rough sleepers adds to the problem on Westminster’s streets

© Clearvista | Dreamstime.com-2

Photo: © Clearvista | Dreamstime

The number of people sleeping on the streets has gone up by 11%. While there are people sleeping rough in every London borough the figures are dominated by the central area of Westminster which accounts for well over a third.

The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) says that from April to June this year 2,775 people were seen sleeping rough. That’s 11% up on the same period last year and 18% up on the previous quarter, January to March.

Of this number 1,447 were seen for the first time and new to the streets, 968 were intermittent rough sleepers, who had been seen before, and 391 people were deemed to be living on the street, including 31 of the newly identified people.

As our map shows, the scale of the problem in Westminster where more than 1,000 people were seen dwarfs the number of rough sleepers across other London boroughs. Camden has the second highest number and around 140 people were seen in Lambeth, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.

Rough sleepers Q1 2015

115 people seen at Heathrow inflate the number for Hillingdon.  14 people were judged by CHAIN to be sleeping along bus routes.  Fewer than 10 rough sleepers were seen in Kingston, Bexley and Havering.

As previously reported by Urbs, Central and Eastern Europeans make up a significant proportion of rough sleepers in London. Figures for the last quarter show that 41% of those seen were British and 36% were from Central and Eastern Europe. Of those, more than half were Romanian and about a quarter were Polish.

Source data

See also

Homeless Romanians help drive up rough sleeper numbers

Cap on benefits hits London hardest

1 in 3 kids growing up in out-of-work households in parts of London



Lifts going down – the number of people stuck in them, that is

stuck in lift

The London Fire Brigade was called to 4,743 incidents of people trapped in lifts last year.  That’s more than 12 a day.

Although the number is high, there has been a dramatic drop (if that is not an unfortunate expression to use) since 2009 when they attended 13,544 incidents.  That’s down by 65%.

The main culprits are not the iconic skyscrapers of the City but high rise in Tower Hamlets, Hackey and Westminster.  And as our graph shows, getting stuck in a lift seems oddly seasonal.  You are 40% more likley to get stuck in a lift in July than November.

stuck in lift chart



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