Small Rise in Obesity Rates Among Children in England

OBESITY RATES among children in England have risen slightly over the past year, figures released today by NHS Digital show. In 2015–2016, the prevalence of obesity measured in children aged 10–11 years old was 19.8% (confidence interval [CI]: 19.7–19.9%). This is a small increase from the rate of 19.1% (CI: 19.0–19.2%) measured in 2014–2015.

A slight increase from the past year has also been measured among children aged 4–5 years old. In 2015–2016, a rate of 9.3% (CI: 9.2–9.4%) was measured, up from 9.1% (CI: 9.0–9.2%) the year before. The rate of obesity among children aged 10­–11 has continued to grow over the past few years. According to the figures published today, the obesity rates measured over the past year are at their highest since data was first collected and analysed in the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP).

In 2006–2007, the inaugural year, the prevalence of obesity was measured at 17.5% (CI: 17.4–18.8%). However, it is noted in the NCMP report that these figures are likely to be an underestimation due to a low participation of 440,489 children. In 2015–2016, the number of children measured was 544,615. For children aged 4–5 years old, the rate of obesity appears to have declined overall since the start of the NCMP. In 2006–2007, the rate of obesity was 9.9% (CI: 9.8–10.0%).

In both age groups, the prevalence of obesity was higher in boys than in girls. In boys aged 10–11 years old, the rate of obesity was 21.7% (CI: 21.5–21.8%) compared to a rate of 17.9% (CI: 17.8–18.1%) among girls in the same age range.

Jack Redden, Reporter

Keywords: children, England, NHS, Obesity