A quarter of our 11 year olds are obese

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ALMOST a quarter of 11-year-olds and one in ten four-year-olds are obese in South Holland.

The shocking figures show the district has the highest level of child obesity among children in school Year Six in the whole county and is 5.5 per cent higher than the national average.

Disturbingly, the figures also show that the number of obese youngsters more than doubles between the ages of four, when they start primary school, and 11, when they start secondary school.

Obesity levels are also rising more quickly in girls than boys.

The figures are based on measurements taken from more than 94 per cent of South Holland’s reception class pupils and over 92 per cent of Year Six children.

An update on progress in tackling the huge problem will be presented to the Health Scrutiny Committee of Lincolnshire County Council next Wednesday, when members will be told that 23.8 per cent of the county’s reception children are overweight or obese, while that rises to 35.3 per cent – more than a third – of Year 6 children.

Research clearly shows that children who are overweight or obese early in life are at a greater risk of developing serious health problems as young adults if they do not reduce their weight to a healthy level.

Health problems associated with obesity include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

The report to the committee says: “The health, social and personal cost associated with the consistent increase in the number of children and adults who are not maintaining a healthy weight will undoubtedly overwhelm both services and personal lives in the future if these rising statistical trends are not reversed.”

Statistics also show that the highest levels of obesity are linked to areas of greatest deprivation, so the information will now be used to target those areas with the most need, including the most deprived areas of South Holland, by offering help and advice to parents about the importance of correct portion sizes and giving their children a healthy and balanced diet.

The report says: “We cannot afford to be complacent and all areas of Lincolnshire require a consistent life course approach to reducing childhood obesity, although the date supports specific interventions where the need is greatest.”