There are now a greater number of ten to eleven-year olds in England than has ever been previously recorded according to the most recent data by Public Health England. According to the research, four out of every hundred students in Year 6 are considered to be severely obese. Just twelve years ago that number was three in every hundred. A nutritionist with Public Health England says the rise is alarming and dealing with it will take time.
Worried by the trend
Researchers are worried by the increase in severe obesity and greater health inequalities and point to both these trends when they say bold measures are necessary if the threat to children’s health is to be tackled. Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert Professor Linda Bauld is urging the government to regulate the advertising of junk food and says it should be banned before 9 pm. Dr Bauld says it is well known that advertising aimed at children is a big part of why childhood obesity is growing.
Banning junk food advertising
According to research from Cancer Research UK, young people are more than twice as likely to be obese if they can recall viewing an advert for junk food every day compared to young people who had no memory of one over a month. The National Child Measurement Programme maintains records of the height and weight of more than a million children between the ages of four to eleven every year.
According to analysis of the data recorded, the number of children considered severely obese has dramatically risen since 2006. Another observation is that there were differences in the health of children across the country. Children living in the most deprived areas were more likely to be obese.
Obesity is the second most preventable cause of cancer
According to Dr Bauld, it is worrying that the number of children beginning secondary education who are severely obese is at record high and that inequalities in health are widening instead of shrinking. Children who live in the most deprived communities are 40 per cent more likely to recall viewing a junk food advert on a daily basis. There is a strong link with obese children and the likelihood that obesity will persist into adulthood. Adult obesity is the second most preventable cause of cancer after smoking.