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Over 40% of 11 year olds are overweight: NHS data suggests

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Published on 18/11/2021

The pandemic has led to a substantial rise in the number of obese children in England data from the NHS suggests. 

Between 2019-20, 10% of children were obese at the start of primary school, but in 2020-21 the figure was more than 14%.

Obesity in the last year of the primary school rose from 21% to over 25%.  These rates were twice as high in the poorest areas.

It is believed that poverty, lockdowns, and rises in mental health problems have led to its increase.

When you add in the proportion of students who are overweight, this figure rises to 28% of children in reception carrying excess weight and 41% in year six.

Dr Max Davie, of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the increase was “alarming”.

“While lockdown may have been a key factor, we mustn’t assume that this year’s results are an aberration since there may be other factors, including mental health difficulties, which will take time to address.”

Caroline Cerny, of the Obesity Health Alliance, said she agreed poverty was playing a crucial role.

“We need to break the junk-food cycle to improve children’s health,”

7 Tips to help your child lose weight safely

Helping your children to lose weight is more about getting them healthy than the actual weight loss.  As children are developing it is important to train them to have a healthy lifestyle which will help them lose weight in a safe manner.

1. Avoid diets

While a keto diet may work for you, putting a child on a calorie-cutting diet often means that they miss out on important nutrients for development.

2. Cut back on fast foods

While those chicken nuggets and smiley waffles are a quick and easy meal, they can very quickly make kids lose interest in healthier food alternatives.  Try and replace these processed foods with healthy options.  If you are feeling time-poor, then lots of supermarkets sell packets of roasted vegetables and other healthy frozen food.

3. Stock up on nutritious food

Keep packaged and fast food away from your children. Instead, make nutritious foods easily accessible, such as vegetables, fruits, and dairy products.

4. Use smaller plates

Psychological people tend to have smaller portions if they use smaller plates. If you are worried about your child gaining weight, use a smaller plate.

5. Cut down on screen time

Screen time has increased dramatically over lockdown.  Your child may have developed a sedentary lifestyle because of it.  Don’t use screens as a reward and encourage them to play outside and get active.

6. Encourage your child to be physically active

Encourage your child to get active.  We all need to get about an hour of physical activity in per day, but they don’t have to do it all at once.  Determine what activities your kids like to do, whether this is skateboarding, cyling or walking.  Getting your kids active and moving is the best possible thing.

7. Ensure your child is getting enough sleep

We might not think it but getting enough sleep has a large impact on our physical health.  Primary school-aged children need 9-14 hours of sleep a day. Sleeping for less than the recommended hours for several days a week increases your child’s odds of developing obesity.

Try strategies to get them to bed early every night. Keep blue-light emitting devices (TV, laptop, smartphone) away from them while you prepare them for bedtime.


What are your tips for helping an overweight child to lose weight?  Let us know in the comments below!

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