One in four of our children classed obese

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ALMOST a quarter of South Holland children are classed as obese by the time they leave primary school, according to a new health report of the district.

ALMOST a quarter of South Holland children are classed as obese by the time they leave primary school, according to a new health report of the district.

The shocking statistics released in the 2011 Health Profile show 24.9 per cent of children in year six at school in the district are obese, 6.2 per cent above the national average.

The report, issued by the English Public Health Observatories, also shows that the district suffers from much higher than average numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes, adults who smoke and infant deaths while the number of adults who are obese is 26.9 per cent – 2.7 per cent above the national average.

South Holland District Council portfolio holder for leisure Howard Johnson, who also sits on Lincolnshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee, said both authorities are aware of the problem and fighting to change generational lifestyle choices which have led to the problem for our youngsters.

Coun Johnson said: “It is a serious problem. These things take a long time to change. It’s a lifestyle choice that children pick up from their parents who pick it up from their parents.

“Once people have made that lifestyle choice it is difficult to undo it. We do attempt to change lifestyle and influence that through leisure activities and sports.

“It is not an issue that will go away – it’s not going to happen unless someone has a magic wand.”

However, the percentage of pupils who do at least three hours a week of high quality physical education and sport at school is 62.4 per cent, above the average of 55.1 per cent.

Our district also has low teenage pregnancy, our pupils achieve above the average in their GCSEs and we have less violent crime.

Tony McGinty, assistant director of Public Health for Lincolnshire County Council and NHS Lincolnshire, said the area has a number of initiatives to address obesity – and those have seen the county get the biggest improvement in the region for levels of activity.

He also said the numbers can be “misleading” as they focus on one year group and do not show if an improvement is made year-on-year.

See the Lincolnshire Free Press for more on this story.