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

Staffordshire | News | Published:

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.

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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.

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"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.

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