Obesity levels among young children in the East Riding have fallen in the last three years, while those of older children have levelled out, new figures show.
Latest annual figures from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) show obesity levels among four to five year olds in the East Riding fell to 7.7 per cent in 2011 to 2012, compared with 8.9 per cent in the previous year.
Obesity levels in 10 to 11 year olds have levelled out at 17.7 per cent over the past three years.
Around 98 per cent of schoolchildren in reception year and year six in the East Riding have been weighed and measured as part of the programme.
The programme checks children’s height and weight as they start and finish primary school to enable local services to identify levels of child obesity on a local, regional and national level.
This is one of the largest sets of child growth data in the world, with enormous potential as a tool for tracking and analysing trends in childhood obesity. It is a key tool in the Government’s strategy to help people lose weight and live healthy lives.
The figures show that of children living in the East Riding in 2011/12:-
* In reception year (age four to five) 7.7 per cent were obese, compared with 8. 9 per cent in the Yorkshire and Humber region and 9.3 per cent in England
* In year six (age 10 to 11) 17.7 per cent were obese, compared with 19 per cent in the Yorkshire and Humber region and 18.9 per cent in England.
* Three years ago, rates in year six had reached 19 per cent but the last three years have seen the rates fall and level out.
* The East Riding has one of the lowest prevalence rates for reception year and is in the lowest 10 per cent nationally.
Dr Tim Allison, East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s director of public health, said: “Obesity levels falling in reception age children and levelling of at year six is encouraging.
“We will be monitoring these trends very closely to see if this can be improved further still over future years. Knowing how many children are overweight or obese, and spotting trends, is key to ensuring that families, communities and public services take the right action in tackling childhood obesity.”
Locally, services and projects are available to offer schools and families support with maintaining healthy weight. Primary schools are offered free Change4Life projects including Big Difference, a drama production about healthy eating and physical activity in the family unit; Skip4Life, which teaches children skipping skills; and all schools are encouraged to sign up to the national Change4Life campaign and the School Food Plan to receive free resources and ideas to develop healthy lifestyle projects within the school curriculum.
Dawn Branton, public health lead, said: “We’re not going to cut overweight and obesity levels overnight but through measures such as providing the right information and support to parents, communities and schools to ensure a healthy diet and regular exercise for children and increasing participation in sport and healthy eating, we hope to support families to lead healthier lives.”