Poll: Should schools play a greater role in tackling childhood obesity?

The number of obese and overweight children in Staffordshire is above the national average, according to a new report.

The worst area for childhood obesity in the county is Cannock Chase where the number of children aged four to five who are classed as overweight or obese is around 27.2 per cent.

See also: 70% of Wolverhampton adults overweight or obese.

And for youngsters aged 10 to 11 the figure is 36.4 per cent.

The average in England for reception youngsters - aged four to five - being overweight or obese is 22.2 per cent and for year six children - 10 to 11-year-olds - it is 34 per cent.

Council bosses say tackling childhood weight issues is one of their top priorities.

Health and wellbeing profiles for each area have been compiled by Staffordshire Observatory which forms part of Staffordshire County Council.

In South Staffordshire the proportion of overweight and obese children is 26.4 per cent. For children aged 10 to 11 the number is 35 per cent.

See also: Obesity on the rise among Black Country youngsters.

In Stafford the figure is 22.6 per cent and for children aged 10 to 11 it is 32.6 per cent - under the national average.

In Lichfield the proportion of those who are overweight or obese is 26.1 per cent. The figure of older youngsters is 29.5 per cent - lower than the national average.

Councillor Michael Greatorex, cabinet support member for public health, said they were trying to encourage families to be healthy.

He said: "Tackling obesity is one of our top priorities and we continue to work with schools and our health partners to ensure children get the opportunity to lead healthy lifestyles.

"We have a number of schemes to help children and their families improve their diets, with more opportunities to take part in physical activities. This combined with active travel initiatives such as walking and cycling and a range of community food projects are all helping to support more children to maintain a healthy weight."

Nationally, the number of children who are obese alone is 18.9 per cent, according to the latest figures. Obesity in the most deprived parts of England is almost double that of the least deprived.

The UK has the highest rate of child obesity in Western Europe, which is estimated to cost the NHS about £4.2billion every year.

Obese children are at an increased risk of developing various health problems and are also more likely to become obese adults.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Comments for: "Poll: Should schools play a greater role in tackling childhood obesity?"

What's the worst that can happen !

They should take full responsibility.

After all it is always someone else's fault for eating yourself into an early grave.

Take personal responsibility, take a look in the mirror.

If you can't / won't see the problem, you can't do anything about it !


Schools and G.P surgeries should employ nutritionists. They should be teaching children about the foods that they need to fuel their body. Schools should not be serving chips at lunch time and they should not serve desserts either. They should be serving meat, potatoes and vegetables, with fresh fruit and nuts for after. These foods are proper nutrition for their bodies, with no added sugar. Let the schools get back to basics.


ie the taxpayer should employ nutritionists, along with everything else.

Does parenting no longer exist?


There is a massive underlying cause of obesity in children and adults alike and while schools could play a part in giving lessons on nutrition and encouraging exercise, the fast food culture needs to be addressed by central government and processed food manufacturers should be forced to decrease hidden fats, sugars and salt in their products.

Parents have a massive part to play but many of them are also obese or overweight so are part of the problem.

Processed convenience food products and international fast food outlets should have the price of their dangerously unhealthy products raised via taxation in the same way that cigarettes are prohibitively expensive through taxation.

The proceeds should be used to subsidise and reduce the cost of basic healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables to stop this health hazard before it becomes much worse.


The best way schools can help with the obesity problem is to engage in more competitive sport. In addition when children see the school doctor if they are classed as overweight, they should get a letter sent home telling their parents they are fat, giving dietary and exercise advice. This should be followed up at regular intervals.

Parents need to follow that advice. Kids should rarely be indoors, but should be out playing, climbing trees and playing football without parents in tow. This would help their emotional and physical development.

Taxing unhealthy foods would be counter productive and very difficult to administer. Would a banana with its 7 spoons of sugar and high potassium levels need to be taxed?

Fred Montgomery

I’m a mathematician specializing in obesity, and I have seen too many parents using the Body Mass Index to estimate their judge a child’s ideal weight. Bad idea. The BMI is the least accurate measurement used in medicine. Boys have significantly higher BMIs than girls of the same height; older children have higher BMIs than younger ones of the same height, etc. Judging a child's obesity by his BMI meaningless, and often cruel.

What’s better? Lots of activity, lots of healthy, unprocessed foods, not much junk food. Several sites offer more sophisticated metrics for adults; www.weightzonefactor.com is the best; it gives comprehensive advice.


Introduce competitive sports into schools, what a thought, you are putting the clock back at least 30 years and the parents of little Joanne or John would get really upset if their child did not win, no place for this sort of thing these days. I voted no in answer to the question as teachers do not know the financial situation of the family, but they could introduce lessons on healthy eating and healthy foods but they should not get involved with the parents, this is a job for a doctor, nurse or social worker. What happened to the school nurse.


No wonder why we have a generation of overweight children. One of the key reasons is simply lack of exercise and the cotton wool lets wrap them in it mentality of the parents by taking them to school when many times its less than a mile or so to walk it. Then it,s down to the chip shop at lunch time for a megger dose of junk food. On return from school it,s up to he bedroom no outside play because again there parents think something may happen to there little darlings so it,s up to the bedroom and sit on the backside on the computer all evening


This cotton wool form of parenting will lead to lots of mental health problems in later life.

A child should learn about coping with danger and making decisions in independent play through childhood.


The reasons are many, lifestyle certainly plays a huge role as has already been posted, the school run which is something that in my school days was non existent, in fairness my school was only two miles away so it was a pleasant walk. Once homework was done it was get outside and play football.cricket anything riding our bikes running or just generally doing something. As to KFC there was no such thing. I was fed a diet of fresh produce given a smack if I played up and was expected to give my seat up on the bus if a lady or elderly person got on. I look back on my formative years with many fond memories and though at times I was a little so and so my father lived long enough to see me become a respectable member of society blessed with his work ethic and no health problems unlike many of the x box loving burger chomping kids/parents of today who will no doubt end up with health problems caused by their sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.

Try our beta site!

We’re getting ready to launch our brand new website for expressandstar.com and we’d like to give you a sneak preview.

We’re still applying the finishing touches, so please bear with us if something’s not quite right.

We'd love to hear your thoughts, good or bad, via the simple feedback button that you'll see to the right side of every page.

Try the beta