Record high levels of severe obesity found in Year 6 children

Public Health England | October 2018 |Record high levels of severe obesity found in Year 6 children

Data published earlier this week in the national child measurement programme (NCMP), shows the rate of severe obesity among year 6 children (aged 10 to 11) has increased by more than a third since 2006 to 2007 to 4.2%, its highest rate ever. 


 The latest data from the  overseen by Public Health England (PHE), also shows stubborn inequalities persist, with obesity in deprived areas more than double that of more affluent areas.

The NCMP provides the most comprehensive picture of the state of childhood obesity for the 2017 to 2018 school year in England. It found:

  • the proportion of overweight and obese children in reception year (aged 4 to 5) has remained stable at 22.4% (equal to 136,586 children)
  • for year 6 children, it is 34.3% (equal to 197,888 children) compared to 31.6% in 2006 to 2007
  • in the most deprived areas, 12.8% of children in reception year are obese, compared to 5.7% in the least deprived areas
  • in year 6 it is 26.8% in the most deprived areas, compared to 11.7% in the least deprived areas
  • in both age groups, severe obesity is 4 times higher in deprived areas (Source: PHE)


Read the full press release at Public Health England 

Of interest:

BBC News Severe obesity four times more likely in poor primary schools

Obesity set to become the biggest preventable cause of cancer for females

Cancer Research UK |September 2018| When could overweight and obesity overtake smoking as the biggest cause of cancer in the UK?  

Cancer Research UK report that overweight and obesity are on track to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer in UK women in around a quarter of a century, if current trends continue as projected. 


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The study is the first attempt to quantify and compare the future smoking- and overweight and obesity attributable cancer burdens.  Cancer Research UK projects that smoking and overweight and obesity could cause 20,000 more cancer cases by 2035 than the 75000 cases in 2015.  In seventeen years’ time  one-tenth of cancers in women (around 25,000 cases) could be caused by smoking and just less than one-tenth (around 23,000 cases)  attributed to excess weight.




Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said:

“Obesity is a huge public health threat right now, and it will only get worse if nothing is done. The UK Government must build on the lessons of smoking prevention to reduce the number of weight-related cancers by making it easier to keep a healthy weight and protect children, as those who are overweight are five times more likely to be so as an adult.

The report has been released to coincide with the launch of the charity’s UK-wide campaign to increase awareness that obesity is a cause of cancer (Source: Cancer Research UK).

Cancer Research UK [Press release] Obesity could overtake smoking as biggest preventable cause of cancer in women

Cancer Research UK  [Report] When could overweight and obesity overtake smoking as the biggest cause of cancer in the UK?   

See also: OnMedica Obesity as cause of cancer set to overtake smoking

Diabetes epidemic predicted to increase rise in heart attacks and stroke

British Heart Foundation | August 2018 | Growing diabetes epidemic to trigger ‘sharp rise’ in heart attacks and strokes by 2035

Currently  in England, nearly 4 million people are living with diabetes. Extrapolation of data based on the increasing number of people with diabetes predicts that almost  39,000 people living with diabetes suffering a heart attack in 2035 – a rise of 9,000 compared to 2015 – and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke – a rise of 11,000.


BHF expect that to rise to over 5 million over the next 20 years, as a result of the population’s  worsening lifestyles and the UK’s growing obesity rates.  As well as the increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, this rise in diabetes cases will increase the number of people suffering from conditions including angina and heart failure. BHF forecasts this will put further pressure on the NHS with previous estimates suggesting the yearly cost of treating people with diabetes will be £16.9 billion by 2035, up from £9.8 billion in 2012.

BHF are underlining  urgent need for ‘bold action’ to tackle lifestyle factors, such as obesity and a poor diet, that are leading to spiraling rates of diabetes, as well as a greater focus within the health sector on earlier diagnosis.

Read the full news story at BHF 

In the news:

BBC News Rise in diabetes ‘to cause surge in heart disease and strokes’

Sky News Diabetes epidemic set to cause surge in heart attacks and strokes

Daily Mail  Britain’s diabetes time-bomb: Rise of Type 2 will cause heart attacks and strokes to soar over the coming years with 30% increase in serious illnesses linked to the condition

The Telegraph Obesity epidemic will fuel 30 per cent rise in heart attacks in 2035

Times Diabetes means big rise in heart attacks

The Guardian Diabetes epidemic ‘will lead to rise in heart attacks and strokes’

Hospital vending machines: helping people make healthier choices

Public Health England | July 2018 | Hospital vending machines: helping people make healthier choices

Public Health England (PHE) findings from research into how changes to vending machine product availability and positioning across Leeds Teaching Hospital altered purchasing choices.
vending machine

Behavioural Insights experts in DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) and Public Health England collaborated with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Selecta to run a trial in 17 cold drink and mixed snack vending machines. The trial tested in 2 phases: whether changing the availability or positioning of products within the vending machines could encourage healthier choices and whether that was economically viable (Source: Public Health England).

The analysis is available from Public Health England (PHE)

Mothers who follow five healthy habits may reduce risk of obesity in children

Science Daily | July 2018 | Mothers who follow five healthy habits may reduce risk of obesity in children

Mums who adhere to five healthy habits may help to reduce their children’s risk of obesity, finds a new study published in the BMJ. Reserachers examined the association between maternal healthy lifestyle  and the risk of developing obesity in offspring.

The Harvard study found that mothers who eat healthily, maintain a healthy body weight, exercise regularly, drink alcohol in moderation and do not smoke have a reduced risk factor (75 per cent less likely) of becoming obese when compared with peers who did not follow such healthy habits (via Science Daily).



Objective To examine the association between an overall maternal healthy lifestyle (characterized by a healthy body mass index, high quality diet, regular exercise, no smoking, and light to moderate alcohol intake) and the risk of developing obesity in offspring.

Design Prospective cohort studies of mother-child pairs.

Setting Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII) and Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) in the United States.

Participants 24 289 GUTS participants aged 9-14 years at baseline who were free of obesity and born to 16 945 NHSII women.

Main outcome measure Obesity in childhood and adolescence, defined by age and sex specific cutoff points from the International Obesity Task Force. Risk of offspring obesity was evaluated by multivariable log-binomial regression models with generalized estimating equations and an exchangeable correlation structure.

Results 1282 (5.3%) offspring became obese during a median of five years of follow-up. Risk of incident obesity was lower among offspring whose mothers maintained a healthy body mass index of 18.5-24.9 , engaged in at least 150 min/week of moderate/vigorous physical activities , did not smoke, and consumed alcohol in moderation, compared with the rest. Maternal high quality diet (top 40% of the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 diet score) was not significantly associated with the risk of obesity in offspring. When all healthy lifestyle factors were considered simultaneously, offspring of women who adhered to all five low risk lifestyle factors had a 75% lower risk of obesity than offspring of mothers who did not adhere to any low risk factor. This association was similar across sex and age groups and persisted in subgroups of children with various risk profiles defined by factors such as pregnancy complications, birth weight, gestational age, and gestational weight gain. Children’s lifestyle did not significantly account for the association between maternal lifestyle and offspring obesity risk, but when both mothers and offspring adhered to a healthy lifestyle, the risk of developing obesity fell further.

Conclusion Our study indicates that adherence to a healthy lifestyle in mothers during their offspring’s childhood and adolescence is associated with a substantially reduced risk of obesity in the children. These findings highlight the potential benefits of implementing family or parental based multifactorial interventions to curb the risk of childhood obesity.

The full article is available from the BMJ 

Full reference:

Klodian, D. Haines JessLiu GangZhangCuilinWang XiaobinField Alison E et al.| 2018| Association between maternal adherence to healthy lifestyle practices and risk of obesity in offspring: results from two prospective cohort studies of mother-child pairs in the United States 


Second’s out, round two: Is the government’s latest childhood obesity plan a knockout?

The King’s Fund | June 2018 | Second’s out, round two: Is the government’s latest childhood obesity plan a knockout?

A new blog post on The King’s Fund website reviews the Government’s Obesity plan, chapter 2.  It questions whether it is any better than the first. It uses the Health and Social Care Committee’s refreshed recommendations to assess it.  The blog post includes a table that shows how the updated plan measures up against the Committee’s key asks (Source: The King’s Fund)

 The post can be read in full here 

Related: Childhood obesity: a plan for action Chapter 2

Healthy weight, healthy futures: Local government action to tackle childhood obesity

Local Government Association|  June 2018 | Healthy weight, healthy futures: local government action to tackle childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century. At the start of primary school one in 10 children are obese and by the end, that has increased to one in five.

Healthy weight, healthy futures
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The Local Government Association (LGA)’s publication of Healthy weight, healthy futures: Local government action to tackle childhood obesity’ updates the earlier, 2016 edition (February 2016).

This publication showcases the wide variety of ways, that the sector is working with their colleagues in planning to not only restrict takeaways, but also working proactively to ensure new developments take into account health and wellbeing. Some are focussing on getting children physically active and the latest figures suggest less than a quarter of children are achieving the required levels.

Meanwhile, others are concentrating on food and diet. In doing so, they are forging important partnerships with early years settings, schools, community groups and local businesses (Source: LGA).

Studies from Sheffield, Leeds and Wakefield City Councils are included

Healthy weight, healthy futures: local government action to tackle childhood obesity can be downloaded from Local Government Association