Deprived area children are twice as likely to be obese - The Worcester Observer

Deprived area children are twice as likely to be obese

Worcester Editorial 17th Sep, 2020   0

CHILDREN in deprived areas are twice as likely to be obese than those in less deprived areas, according to the latest report from the National Audit Office on childhood Obesity.

The report, covering 2018-19 found nearly 13 per cent of four to five year-olds in the most deprived areas to be obese compared with 6.4 per cent in the least deprived areas.

At ages 10 to 11, this gap is greater with 26.9 per cent in the most deprived areas classified as obese, compared with 13 per cent in the least deprived.

The report also found that obesity rates for children in different ethnic groups also vary considerably.

For example, just over nine per cent of white children were classified as obese in 2018/19 at age four to five years old, compared with more than 15 per cent of black children.

These rates increase to more than 18 per cent and nearly 29 per cent respectively by age 10 to 11.

The report said that Public Health England and the Department of Health & Social Care’s (DHSC) do not know how large a role deprivation plays in this variation between ethnic groups and acknowledges that further work is required.

The government estimates the cost of obesity to the NHS is £6.1billion and £27billion to wider society.

The NAO recommends that by autumn 2021 DHSC, with support from the Cabinet Office, should introduce stronger procedures that allow it to hold other departments responsible for delivering their elements of the its obesity reduction programme.

In the proposed spending review, the government should target support and funding to local authorities and groups who have the greater obesity problems. DHSC should also provide greater support to local authorities to help them implement efforts to reduce childhood obesity.

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