One in five children aged 10 to 11 are now obese

The rate of obesity among children doubles by the time they leave primary school, data from the child measurement programme show.

A total of 18.6% of boys and girls in year six, aged 10-11, are obese. When they start secondary school in reception, aged 4-5, 9.6% are obese.

The proportion of children who are overweight remains broadly constant, with 13% overweight in reception, and 14.3% in year six.

But the proportion of healthy-weight children plummets from 76.2% to 66%, the data published by the NHS Information Centre show.

The rate of obesity is higher among boys than girls at both stages. 20% of boys are obese in year six, compared with 16% of girls.

Some 10.4% of boys are obese in reception, compared with 8.8% of girls.

Despite the high rates of obesity it found, the measurement programme has been criticised by public health experts for underestimating the scale of the problem.

They believe many obese or overweight children may opt out or be prevented from taking part by their parents, and point out that BMI measurements may not work accurately in children.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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