Skip to main content

Publication, Part of

National Child Measurement Programme, England, 2022/23 School Year

Official statistics, National statistics

National Statistics

Current Chapter

Part 1: Age, time series and sex


Page contents

Part 1: Age, time series and sex

Age

In 2022/23, the majority of children in reception and in year 6 were a healthy weight.

Around three quarters of reception children were a healthy weight (77.5%) and 1.2% were underweight. The proportion of reception children who were overweight was 12.2% and 9.2 % were living with obesity.

In year 6, 61.9% of children were a healthy weight and 1.6% were underweight. The proportion of Year 6 children who were overweight was 13.9% and 22.7% were living with obesity.

Obesity prevalence in year 6 (22.7%) was more than twice as high as in reception (9.2%), with 138,867 children in year 6 recorded in this BMI category compared with 51,998 in reception.

Severe obesity prevalence in year 6 (5.7%) was more than twice as high as in reception (2.5%).

Underweight prevalence was higher in year 6 (1.6%) than in reception (1.2%).

 

 
 

Time series

The Covid-19 pandemic affected how much NCMP data was collected and this is described in more detail in Data Quality Statement Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the NCMP. The 2018/19 school year was the last complete collection of NCMP data that was unaffected by COVID-19 and can be used as a benchmark year for pre-pandemic comparisons for local authority and England data. The 2019/20 NCMP collection was incomplete because no measurements were taken after March 2020, when schools were closed as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data quality work on the 2019/20 data established that it is comparable to earlier years at the England level and can also be used for pre-pandemic comparisons at England level.

In reception, the prevalence of obesity was relatively stable between 2006/07 and 2019/20, (before the Covid-19 pandemic), varying between 9.1% and 9.9%. It increased to 14.4% in 2020/21 and then decreased to 10.1% in 2021/22 and to 9.2% in 2022/23. This 9.2% is one of the lowest rates since 2006/07.

During the period 2006/07 and 20018/19, the prevalence of severe obesity varied slightly between 2.1% and 2.4%, was 2.5% in 2019/20 and increased to 4.7% in 2020/21. It decreased to 2.9% in 2021/22 and to 2.5% in 2022/23. 

The prevalence of underweight was at 1.3% in 2006/07 to 2008/09 and then stable at 0.9% to 1.0% between 2008/09 and 2020/21. It increased to 1.2% in 2021/22 and has remained at this level in 2022/23.

 

Among year 6 children, the prevalence of obesity increased from 18.7% in 2009/10 to 21.0% in 2019/20.  It increased to 25.5% in 2020/21 and then decreased 23.4% in 2021/22, and to 22.7% in 2022/23. This is still higher than pre-pandemic levels; unlike the situation for reception children.

The prevalence of severe obesity increased from 3.5% in 2009/10 to 4.7% in 2019/20.  It increased to 6.3% in 2020/21 and then decreased to 5.8% in 2021/22, and is at a similar level, 5.7%, in 2022/23.

The prevalence of underweight was 1.3% in 2009/10 and then stayed between 1.3% and 1.4%  until 2019/20 and decreased to 1.2% in 2020/21. The prevalence of underweight increased to 1.5% in 2021/22 and increased again to 1.6%, in 2022/23 and is the highest recorded rate since 2009/10.

 

For more information: Table 2, National Child Measurement Programme, England, 2022/23 school year.


Sex

In reception, 77.0% of boys were a healthy weight compared to 78.1% of girls. In year 6, 59.6% of boys a were healthy weight compared to 64.2% of girls.

Note: The proportion of children in the healthy weight category is not shown in the chart as it would lengthen the scale making the differences for the other categories harder to see.  

 
 

The difference in obesity prevalence between boys and girls was larger in year 6 than in reception. 2022/23 data shows that 9.3% of boys and 9.0% of girls in reception were living with obesity and that 25.1% of boys and 20.1% of girls in year 6 were living with obesity.

In reception, underweight prevalence was higher for boys (1.5%) than for girls (0.8%). However, in year 6 underweight prevalence was higher for girls (1.7%) than for boys (1.4%).

For more information: Table 1, National Child Measurement Programme, England, 2022/23 school year.


Last edited: 19 October 2023 12:42 pm