Derbyshire health chiefs in new bid to tackle “wicked issue” of child obesity
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This includes specialist intervention and work to help families make healthy choices around diet and exercise. They detail that it is likely that a significant proportion of children and young people living with severe obesity in Derby (estimated 1,920) and Derbyshire (3,780) will at some point require high-level intervention from health officials at some time in their life.
In a new report county and city health officials say that childhood obesity is an “issue of social justice” and a “significant risk to the future health and wellbeing of children” due to its heightened impact on and prevalence in families who are the most deprived – experiencing nearly double the rate of childhood obesity.
This comes a year after Derbyshire County Council’s now former public health director, Dean Wallace, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the cost of living crisis was his largest single concern.
The latest statistics for obesity in Derbyshire show that by the start of reception nearly a quarter of children (22.8 per cent) – one in every four – are already overweight or obese.
By Year 6, the end of primary school, more than a third (36.3 per cent) – one in every three – of children in Derbyshire were found to be overweight or obese, the stats show.
The statistics show Bolsover district has the highest prevalence of obesity – not including those assessed as “overweight” – in reception-aged children, at 11 per cent – one in every 10, while Derbyshire Dales has the lowest (eight per cent).
Bolsover district also has the highest rate of obesity in Year 6 children at 27.1 per cent – one in every four – while the Derbyshire Dales has the lowest at 16.1 per cent.
The statistics show obesity in children is strongly associated with deprivation, with 12.5 per cent of children in reception in the most deprived areas of Derbyshire being obese compared to seven per cent in the least deprived areas.
By Year 6, 25.4 per cent of children are obese in the most deprived areas of the county compared to 14.1 per cent in the least deprived areas.
A new trial is being launched in Bolsover, the High Peak and South Derbyshire which will offer parents and carers of overweight children aged 5-12 a small bursary to encourage them to take part in “low-cost” physical activities – in a bid to help overcome barriers to exercise, support development and reduce obesity.
There are also eight-week and 12-month courses for parents and carers of overweight children to help provide information and positive motivation tips for improving long-term healthy lifestyles.
The report says: “The upward trajectory in childhood obesity prevalence over recent years require all partners to understand and commit to action to address the ‘wicked issue’ that is childhood obesity.”
Since 2007, the rate of obese or severely obese children in Derbyshire has increased from 16.8 per cent to 22.4 per cent, which is just lower than the national rate.