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Almost a third of children overweight in Cornwall

Almost a third of children overweight in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 11:46am 13th March 2019. (Updated at 5:35pm 13th March 2019)

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

A new survey has found that almost a third of all children in Cornwall leave primary school overweight.

All children in reception and Year 6 at primary school are invited to take part in the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) in Cornwall.

In 2017/2018 a total of 10,513 children aged four, five, 10 and 11 were measured and weighed – more than 90% of the children in those year groups.

After the NCMP is complete letters are sent home to parents which indicate whether their children are underweight, healthy weight, overweight or very overweight.

In the Year 6 group 1,495 were overweight or very overweight – that was 29.9% of those measured. Of those, 665 were found to be overweight (13.3%) and 830 were obese (16.6%).

Of those which were obese the study found that 150 were classed as severely obese, 3% of the total.

A total of 3,462 children in Year 6 – 69.3% – were found to be healthy weight, higher than the national average of 64.3%. There were 42 children (0.84%) who were underweight.

In Year 6 the number of children found to be obese reduced in 2018 while the proportion who are healthy weight had increased.

At reception level, 24.3% of children were found to be overweight – 1,340 of all children measured. This shows the the numbers are rising among four and five year olds.

Of those, 509 (9.2%) were considered to be obese and 97 (1.8%) were severely obese.

A total of 4,172 reception children (75.5%) were recorded to be a healthy weight and 13 (0.24%) were underweight. The number at healthy weight was lower than the national average of 76.6%.

The figures are included in a report which is due to go before Cornwall Council’s health and adult social care overview and scrutiny committee today (Wednesday March 13th).

When letters are sent to parents giving them details of their children’s measurements a leaflet is included to encourage them to contact specialist staff with any questions or concerns.

However the take up of this service is extremely low with just 11 parents (0.1%) getting in touch with the specialists.

The data gathered through the NCMP is used to inform obesity planning and commissioning.

"Data from the National Child Measurement Programme shows that In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, nearly 30% of children are overweight or obese when they leave primary school, which is below the national average. 

"While we are below the national average of excess weight measured in 10 and 11 year olds we know that we can still do more to help children be healthy, so they set good behaviours for life.

"One of Cornwall Council’s priorities is to improve the health of all our residents, and our Healthy Schools Programme is an important part of this. The programme supports schools to provide the healthiest possible environment for children to learn in, including advice on healthy food and activity. Our team of experts at Healthy Cornwall are also available to support individuals and families of all ages who want to make changes to improve their health."

Cornwall Council

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