Following a recent report from NHS Digital, there has been a substantial rise in the number of obese children in England.
In 2019-2020, 10% of children were obese at the start of primary school, however in 2020-2021 the figure was more than 14%. In the last year of primary school, it rose from 21% to over 25%.
Dr Max Davie, officer for health improvement at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said lockdowns "may have been a key factor" in the rise in obesity rates. "This sharp increase in obesity levels across childhood is alarming," he said.
Experts said poverty and a rise in mental health problems may have also played a role.
Read the full NHS Digital Report.
Here, we explore other causes of child obesity.
Studies show that 25-40% of a child's BMI is inherited through genetics. Having Obesity often runs in the family and is something that would definitely work against a child, however, it is not straight forward to say that if the disease runs in the family Obesity is a certainty.
This just means that extra precautions will have to be taken with that particular child, which may involve keeping a close eye on their diet and activity regime.
This is probably the most important factor in the rise of childhood obesity. Children, in general, want quick, convenient food and this is typically ‘junk food’ which comes with a high sugar and salt price tag. Examples such as sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks and biscuits are the obvious culprits for overweight children.
Shocking to many parents is also the fact that seemingly hearty sometimes even ‘healthy’ ready meals such as Shepherds’ pies, pasta bakes and pizzas can contain over half of a child’s daily allowance of sugar, salt and fat.
Even though it may be time-consuming and cost considerably more, making these meals from scratch could be a simple way for you to monitor what the children around you are actually consuming. Items such as fresh fruit and vegetables, brown rice and along with lean meats are sure to provide a healthy balanced meal
We have blogs on quick, convenient and healthy recipes to help create ease at meal times, including:
In recent years, the amount of times that children spend in front of a TV/laptop/ games console has risen to 32 hours between the ages of 2 and 5 or 28 hours per week for ages 6-11. This is directly linked with children not getting enough exercise annually.
Group activities such as going to a playground, dancing, playing football, horse riding and swimming each week are all excellent ways for your child to get enough exercise during their week.