"The UK is already one of the most obese nations in western Europe, with one in three 10 and 11-year-olds and one in five four and five-year-olds classed as overweight or obese, respectively."
Responding to NHS Digital figures from the National Child Measurement Programme 2017/18, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“These figures are a stark reminder of the urgent childhood obesity crisis that we face as a nation, and the need for decisive, radical action.
“The UK is already one of the most obese nations in western Europe, with one in three 10 and 11-year-olds and one in five four and five-year-olds classed as overweight or obese, respectively.
“Unless we tackle this obesity crisis, today’s obese children will become tomorrow’s obese adults whose years of healthy life will be shortened by a whole host of health problems including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
“Councils have measured more children since taking on responsibility for the National Child Measurement Programme than ever before, but rising demand and funding cuts threaten this good work and the weight management services that are crucial for making the difference.
“Councils are leading efforts to fight obesity but for this to work effectively they need to be properly resourced. Public health funding has been reduced by £600 million from 2015/16 to 2019/20.
“We ask the Government to reverse reductions to councils’ public health budgets and give local authorities more funding to further this cost-effective work. Any extra funding for the NHS should also include public health funding for councils as the two are so intrinsically linked.”
Notes to editors
- Since the responsibility of delivering public health transferred to councils in 2013, local authorities have spent more than £1 billion tackling child and adult obesity, and physical inactivity. Against a backdrop of reductions to the public health budget, councils report a 50 per cent increase in spend between 2013/14 and 2016/17 on childhood obesity, and a 60 per cent increase for childhood physical inactivity in the same period.
- Central government have reduced public health budgets by £600 million between 2015/16 and 2019/20.
- 1.18m children were weighed and measured in 2017/18