Brent to step up battle against childhood obesity to curb long-term threats

A young child is weighed on scales. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

A young child is weighed on scales. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Brent Council said it will continue to battle against childhood obesity, after government statistics revealed that more than a quarter of Year 6 students in the borough are obese.

The figures, released by Public Health England (PHE), showed that 25.5 per cent of primary school leavers in Brent were obese, while more than four in ten carried ‘excess weight’.

In several wards the level of obesity for ten and 11-year-olds was close to, or more than, 30pc and the council appreciates the need for change.

A spokesperson said: “Brent Council and our partners take tackling childhood obesity very seriously, and we are committed to reducing childhood obesity as part of a borough-wide strategy to improve the health and well-being of all children and young people in Brent.”

The council pointed out that it has already implemented healthy living schemes to help address the issue.

These include free swimming for under-16s during the school holidays and supporting primary schools through walking and running challenges.

It has also introduced a new policy which limits the number of takeaways near schools and in town centres.

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But another worrying trend from the PHE figures is the clear jump from the situation at reception – the year most children start school.

In Brent, 11.5pc were classed as obese, while nearly 24pc had ‘excess weight’.

Cllr Izzie Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said there is a clear need for everyone to take action.

She said: “Unless we tackle this obesity crisis, today’s obese children will become tomorrow’s obese adults whose years of healthy life will be shortened by a whole host of health problems including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.”