Childhood Obesity in Warwickshire

As reported in our recent newsletter, the Warwickshire Observatory is working with colleagues in Public Health to collect data for the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP).  The NCMP is part of a national effort to improve children’s health and wellbeing and, every year, children in Reception and Year 6 are weighed and measured.  These measurements are used to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) scores, which in turn are used to generate age and sex specific centiles for each child.

For general monitoring purposes, overweight is defined as a BMI greater than or equal to the 85th centile but less than the 95th centile (i.e. overweight but not obese); obese is defined as a BMI greater than or equal to the 95th centile. Our graphic explains that a slightly different set of thresholds are used in a clinical setting.

We will be carrying out detailed analysis of the local data once the 2011/12 collection programme has finished.  In the meantime, we have provided an analysis of recent figures to help provide some background and understand the current scale of childhood obesity. Some key findings include:

  • Obesity levels double between Reception and Year 6.  At Reception age, 7.8% of pupils in Warwickshire are obese.  The comparative figure for Year 6 pupils is 16.2%.  This emphasises the importance of encouraging healthy eating and exercise at the start of school life in order to reduce the risk of obesity in later years.
  • Warwickshire is slightly below the national average in terms of childhood obesity.  Across England as a whole, 19.0% of Year 6 children and 9.4% of Reception children are obese.
  • Obesity rates are relatively consistent year-on-year.  However, we can say that the percentage of Year 6 children that are obese has risen, nationally, during each of the past four years.
  • The national report on the NCMP identifies a number of risk factors associated with childhood obesity including ethnicity, deprivation and urban environments.
  • Local data is currently provided for Middle-level Super Output Areas (MSOA).  There are 66 of these across Warwickshire, with 22 having obesity levels above the national average for Year 6 pupils.  We have mapped the data in our graphic, with local obesity rates ranging between 9% and 25%.  There are some clear clusters of higher obesity rates in the north of the county in particular. 

We will provide further updates on our work in this area throughout the year.  For further information on the NCMP, click here. For information on the National Obesity Observatory, visit: http://www.noo.org.uk/.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Childhood Obesity in Warwickshire – Observatory Analysis […]

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