A third of all primary school children in year 6 are now overweight and a fifth of those in reception class are also heavier than they should be.
The NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) released figures from the National Child Measurement Programme, which logs the height and weight of over one million children. Its figures suggest that children living in urban areas are more likely to be overweight than those living in the suburbs, with London having the highest rates.
Anna Soubry, public health minister, says: “Being overweight can do serious damage to our health so we must reduce levels in children to give them the best start in life. That is why we are taking action to encourage families to eat healthily and get active”.
Tam Fry, from National Obesity Forum, said: “We had been led to believe by the government that the situation was levelling off and improving but these figures show this is not the case at all. There are now double the number of children aged 11 who are obese than there were when they began school”.