New report on childhood obesity asks education providers to help more

The sugar levy which has put up the cost of sweetened fizzy drinks has caused millions of Britons to drink healthier alternatives

More than 22,000 out of 556,000 in Year 6 - four per cent - are classed as severely obese, compared to 15,000 out of 629,000 four and five-year-olds - two per cent.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, and obtained the figures from the national child measurement programme, said it showed children are gaining weight at a drastic rate as they go through school.

The Health and Social Care Committee has published its latest report on childhood obesity, entitled Childhood obesity: Time for action, which outlines the issues facing British children's well-being with regard to food habits and fitness.

The figures have shown that 23.6 per cent of year six children London-wide are obese and 10.3 per cent in reception are obese.

The report endorses calls for a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising, saying there is a need to be a ban on brand generated characters or licensed TV and film characters from being used to promote HFSS (high fat, sugar and salt) products on broadcast and non-broadcast media, and the Government must align regulations on non-broadcast media with those for broadcast media.

She said the United Kingdom was the most obese nation in western Europe, adding that "today's obese children will become tomorrow's obese adults" unless the problem is tackled.

It is hoped that a cabinet-level committee will be set up to implement any plans and report back on them, as well as setting serious targets in order to diminish the childhood obesity problem.

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Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA's community wellbeing board, said: "Cuts to councils' public health grants by government are having a significant impact on the many prevention and early intervention services carried out by councils to combat child obesity".

One in 25 children in England aged 10 or 11 are severely obese, new analysis has found.

"The government can rectify missed opportunities by bringing in greater restrictions on how and when unhealthy, sugary, salty and fatty foods are marketed and promoted so children and young people aren't bombarded with adverts, and we agree with the Select Committee that these measures are needed now".

A BMI of more than 40 means adults are severely obese, but in children it is based on reference growth charts for boys and girls.

The LGA also emphasised the need for "targeted intervention" to tackle disproportionately high rates of obesity among children in the most deprived areas, and those from minority ethnic groups.

In England, it is mandatory that all children's weight and height are measured when they start and leave primary school.

"However, we have always been very clear that this is the not the final word on obesity, and we have not ruled out further action if the right results are not seen".

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