4 December 2014

City celebrates another cut in child obesity

City celebrates cut in child obesity

Brighton & Hove City Council is now in the top 10% of local authorities nationally for tackling child obesity.

New national statistics from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for two key age indicators show the council ranked third nationally at Year 6 (aged 10-11) and twelfth at reception age (aged 4-5).

Child obesity in the city has fallen every year for the past five years. There are now only 13.3% of children in Year 6 and 7.3% of reception-age children measured as obese.

The figures at Year 6 are 5.8 percentage points better than the national average, and the reception-age figure is 2.2 percentage points better than the national average.  

In terms of the percentage of children classified as having a healthy weight (a separate indicator) the city is doing even better, ranking third nationally at year 6 and fourth at reception age.

The council’s director of public health, Dr Tom Scanlon, said: “Obese children and adolescents are at an increased risk of developing various health problems, and are also more likely to become obese adults.

“The secret of our success is in working not just with our schools but also with partners such as Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, Albion in the Community, and Freedom Leisure.

“It’s not just about working with the children who are obese. We want to prevent obesity happening in the first place, and sometimes that means working with the whole family.

“Our message is simple: making small changes to what you eat and to how much exercise you get can make a big difference to your weight and your overall health, whatever age you are.

“The baby weaning and toddler sessions we offer in our children’s centres are great because they give parents the information they need to get their children off to the best possible start in life.

“As a seaside town we are also delighted to continue our offer of free swimming, in partnership with Freedom Leisure, for all children and young people aged 16 and under. To date over 16,000 children have registered to swim for free.

“I’m also proud of the support we offer the city’s Food Partnership in its work with Albion in the Community on a new Family Shape Up programme for 6-13 year olds. Tabitha (pictured) is one of many children who have really enjoyed this course.

"New sessions also include Zip Zap clubs in 10 schools across the city for 5-7 year olds and plans for weight management support for young people aged 14 - 17.”

If you are concerned about your child’s weight there are lots of free services across the city that can help. Please contact the city’s healthy weight team on 01273 431703 for further details.

The new national statistics from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measure the height and weight of around one million school children in England every year, providing a detailed picture of the prevalence of child obesity.