Peak kids fight battle of bulge

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A NEW drive to combat obesity is being launched by NHS Derbyshire County after latest figures reveal a slight increase in the number of overweight primary school leavers in the High Peak.

According to data published in the 2010/11 National Child Measurement Programme, 16.2 per cent of primary school leavers in the area are now classed as obese compared to 16.1 per cent the previous year. These figures are in line with national trends which show a slight rise in obesity in older children aged ten to 11.

But the High Peak rate is still below the England average, where 19 per cent of primary school leavers are classed as obese. And data taken from primary schoolchildren just entering school reveal that obesity rates in this year group have significantly gone down with seven per cent of four to five year olds now classed as obese compared to 10.2 per cent last year.

The National Child Measurement Programme measures the height and weight of all primary schoolchildren in reception year, and again in their final year to build up a true picture of obesity trends in the area – and plays a pivotal role in the development of strategies which aim to prevent hundreds of children growing into obese adults.

Jane Hicken, children’s obesity coordinator for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that there’s been a downward trend in obesity in four to five year olds. If this trend continues we will start to realise the benefits as these children get older. But there is more work to do to reduce rising rates in older children where trends in obesity are higher both locally and nationally.”

Obesity can cause a range of health problems in children, including Type 2 diabetes. Advice given by NHS Derbyshire County to ensure children and families maintain a healthy lifestyle includes increasing physical activity through activities such as walking, cycling, playing games in the local park and gardening.

Eating a well-balanced diet, which includes five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is also important as is cutting down on fat, sugar and salt intake.

Visit www.activederbyshire.co.uk/ to find out more about activities that are happening in the area.