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Publication, Part of

National Child Measurement Programme, England, Provisional 2021/22 School Year Outputs

Official statistics, National statistics

National Statistics
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Part 1: Age, time series and sex

The findings below are based on provisional data from an extract taken on 23 May 2022.

Data quality work was undertaken to ascertain that at a national level, the population measured in this provisional 2021/22 dataset is similar to that in previous years, and the outputs are consistent with previous NCMP years. See the Methodology and Data Quality section for more information.

Included in this section is information on the BMI classification at national level by school year, age, sex and the relevant time series. At national level, analyses indicates that the findings in this section are broadly comparable to previous NCMP years.



NCMP provisional data indicates that, in 2021/22, 10.4% of Reception children were obese (including severely obese), 12.5% were overweight but not obese, and the majority of children 76.0% were a healthy weight. 

For Year 6 children, provisional data indicates that 23.5% were obese, 14.4% were overweight but not obese, and 60.7% were a healthy weight. 

As shown in the charts below, Year 6 prevalence was higher than Reception in all categories except for healthy weight.

Time series

The prevalence of obesity in Reception had been relatively stable since 2006/07 but saw a 4.6 percentage point increase from 9.9% in 2019/20 to 14.4% in 2020/21.

Provisional data shows this has decreased for children in Reception in 2021/22 to 10.4%.



For Year 6, the prevalence of obesity was increasing slowly from 19.0% in 2010/11 to 21.0% in 2019/20 and then increased by 4.5 percentage points to 25.5% in 2020/21. 

Provisional data shows this has decreased for children in Year 6 in 2021/22 to 23.5%.

Provisional data for 2021/22 shows that severe obesity prevalence decreased for Reception (2.9%) and Year 6 (5.8%) since 2020/21.

However, obesity and severe obesity prevalence levels in 2021/22 are still higher than those in 2019/20.

The proportion of overweight children decreased between 2020-21 and 2021-22. Among Reception children it fell from 13.3% to 12.5% and among Year 6 pupils it fell from 15.4% to 14.4%.

There was a slight increase in the proportion of underweight children across both age groups. Among Reception children, this rose from 0.9% in 2020-21 to 1.1% in 2021-22. In Year 6 pupils, this went up from 1.2% to 1.5%.

Prevalence data for all categories can be found in Table 2 of the data tables accompanying this report.

Note: for Year 6 comparisons are not possible with the first years of the NCMP (2006/07 to 2008/09) as low participation levels led to underestimation of obesity prevalence. Further information is available in appendices A and C.


The difference in obesity prevalence between boys and girls was larger in Year 6 than Reception. NCMP provisional 2021/22 data indicates that 10.6% of boys and 10.2% of girls in Reception were obese and that 26.5% of boys and 20.3% of girls in Year 6 were obese.

Underweight prevalence was higher for boys in Reception but higher for girls in Year 6.

In Reception, 75.3% of boys were healthy weight compared to 76.7% of girls. In Year 6, 57.8% of boys were healthy weight compared to 63.8% of girls. 

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

Last edited: 11 August 2022 10:02 am