19 October 2017
*NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures
*Regional data available within this report
The prevalence of obesity has risen for the second successive year from 9.3 per cent in 2015-16 to 9.6 per cent in 2016-17 for children in reception.2
Obesity prevalence was more than twice as high among children in year 6 (20.0 per cent, similar to 2015/163) than in reception age children, according to the National Child Measurement Programme, England - 2016/17 school year, published today by NHS Digital.
More than one in three children (34.2 per cent) in year 6 were either overweight or obese in 2016-17. Almost one in four children (22.6 per cent) were overweight or obese in reception year.
The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)4 measures the height and weight of over one million children in England annually and provides robust data on the number of children in reception and year 6 who are underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese.
Regional data included in the 2016-17 report show how obesity prevalence varies by local authority5. This ranged from Kingston-upon-Thames at 4.8 per cent, to 13.5 per cent in Wolverhampton for reception year.
Year 6 obesity prevalence ranged from 11.3 per cent in Rutland to 29.2 per cent in Barking and Dagenham.
The 2016-17 report also showed:
- obesity prevalence for children living in the most deprived6 areas was more than double that of those living in the least deprived areas. Reception age ranged from 5.8 per cent in the least deprived to 12.7 per cent in the most deprived and in year 6 this ranged from 11.4 per cent to 26.3 per cent
- the difference in obesity prevalence7 between children attending schools in the most and least deprived areas has also increased over time. In 2016-17 the difference for reception was 6.0 percentage points, compared to 4.5 percentage points in 2006-07. The equivalent figures for year 6 were 13.4 percentage points in 2016-17 against 8.5 percentage points in 2006-07. In year 6 this deprivation gap has grown more quickly for boys than girls
- obesity prevalence was higher for boys in both age groups. In reception, 10.0 per cent of boys and 9.2 per cent of girls were classified as obese. In year 6, this was 21.8 per cent of boys and 18.1 per cent of girls respectively
- the prevalence of underweight children 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)