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Obesity more likely in children from deprived areas

A PHE trend analysis report has shown that children from deprived areas are almost twice as likely to be obese than those in affluent areas.

Measuring the height of a child

The report Changes in children’s body mass index between 2006/07 and 2011/12, was presented this week by Caroline Hancock, Senior Public Health Analyst at Public Health England, at the European Congress on Obesity.

Obesity in children has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent years. It is well known that the UK has a serious problem in this area. The study used information from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), an annual programme which measures the height and weight of over 1 million children in England in Reception (4 to 5 years) and Year 6 (10 to 11 years).

Perhaps the most important issue the study showed is that obesity among children who live in the most deprived areas of England is around twice that of children living in the least deprived areas.

  • Obesity levels among Reception year children living in the 10% most deprived areas in 2011 to 2012 was 12.4% compared to 6.2% of Reception year children living in the 10% least deprived areas.
  • Obesity levels among Year 6 children living in the 10% most deprived areas in 2011 to 2012 was 24.2% compared to 12.8% of Year 6 children living in the 10% least deprived areas.

In both school years there is evidence that social inequalities in obesity levels have been widening over the 6 years covered by the NCMP.

Published 16 May 2013