The latest annual findings of the National Child Measurement Programme (released 11 October 2018) show that one in 25 children in year 6 of primary school are now so dangerously overweight that they are in the ‘severely obese’ category.  

The NHS figures, based on weighing and measuring more than a million schoolchildren, are the definitive measure of children’s weight in England. 

Across England one in 10 children (9.5%) are already classed as obese by the time they enter reception, rising to one in five (20.1%) by the time children leave primary school.  

Walk to school

Jenni Wiggle, Senior Director, Living Streets comments: 

“The fact that there is even need for a ‘severely obese’ category shows how much we’re failing to protect our children’s health.  

Medical experts advise that children are active for at least 60 minutes a day to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight but just a fifth achieves this. The walk to school is an easy way for children to add more active minutes to their day and ensures children develop healthy habits for life.  

“At the same time, it helps reduce the congestion and traffic currently contributing to the toxic levels of air pollution in our towns and cities. It really is one of the best ways to improve children’s health.  

“The tax on sugary drinks can be used by schools to introduce active travel initiatives which successfully encourage more walking and cycling. It’s vital that schools are aware they can use this, and that they start doing so to protect their pupils’ wellbeing.” 

Regional breakdowns are available on this link: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/national-child-measurement-programme/2017-18-school-year