Obesity rates drop among UK children

New NHS England figures show that the prevalence of primary school children living with obesity continued to fall in 2022/23, after reaching highest recorded levels during the Covid-19 pandemic.  However, obesity remains above pre-pandemic levels among year 6 children, aged 10 to 11.

The “National Child Measurement Programme, England, 2022/23” report shows that obesity among four and five-year-olds fell to 9.2% in 2022/23 from 10.1% in 2021/22, compared with the highest recorded figure in 2020/21 of 14.4%. The decrease signals a return to pre-pandemic levels for this age group and is one of the lowest levels since 2006/07. The proportion of year 6 children, aged 10 and 11, living with obesity dropped to 22.7% in 2022/23. This was down from 23.4% in 2021/22 and 25.5% in 2020/21 but remained higher than the 2019/20 pre-pandemic level of 21.0%.

Levels of obesity in reception-aged children living in the most deprived areas (12.4%) were more than double those in the least deprived areas (5.8%).

The proportion of reception-aged children living with obesity in 2022/23 was highest in the North East (11.3%). It was lowest in the South East (8.0%), East of England (8.1%) and South West (8.2%).  Obesity was highest in urban areas in all age groups – 9.4% in reception and 23.6% in year 6.

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