*NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures
*Regional data available within this report
The prevalence of obesity has risen from 9.1 per cent in 2014-15 to 9.3 per cent in 2015-16 for children in reception2 and from 19.1 per cent to 19.8 per cent for those in year 6.
Obesity prevalence was more than twice as high in year 6 (19.8 per cent) compared to reception (9.3 per cent), according to the National Child Measurement Programme, England - 2015/16 school year, published today by NHS Digital.
More than one in three children (34.2 per cent) in year 6 was either overweight or obese in 2015-16. More than one in five children (22.1 per cent) was overweight or obese in reception year.
The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)3 measures the height and weight of over one million children in England annually and provides robust data on which reception and year 6 children are underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese.
Regional data included in the 2015-16 report show how obesity prevalence varies by local authority4. Richmond upon Thames had the lowest figure for reception at 5.1 per cent, compared to 14.7 per cent in Middlesbrough, which had the highest.
In 2015-16, Richmond upon Thames also had the lowest obesity prevalence in year 6 with 11.0 per cent and Barking and Dagenham had the highest with 28.5 per cent.
The 2015-16 report also showed:
- Obesity prevalence for children in reception living in the most deprived5 areas (12.5 per cent) was more than double that of those living in the least deprived areas (5.5 per cent) . In year 6, 26.0 per cent of children living in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 11.7 per cent in the least deprived areas
- The difference in obesity prevalence6 between children attending schools in the most and least deprived areas has also increased over time. In 2015-16 the difference for reception was 6.2 percentage points, compared to 4.6 percentage points in 2007-087. The equivalent figures for year 6 were 12.4 in 2015-16 and 8.9 percentage points in 2007-08
- Obesity prevalence was higher for boys in both age groups. In reception, 9.6 per cent of boys and 9.0 per cent of girls were classified as obese. In year 6, this was 21.7 per cent of boys and 17.9 per cent of girls respectively
- Underweight prevalence was higher for boys in reception (1.2 per cent compared to 0.7 per cent for girls) but higher for girls in year 6 (1.5 per cent compared to 1.2 per cent for boys). The proportion of underweight children was also higher in year 6 (1.3 per cent) than in reception (1.0 per cent)
Responsible statistician, Paul Niblett, said: "This report is a valuable source of information for parents, policy makers and health professionals and these findings show where improvements to children's health can be made."