New drive on healthy eating message as efforts to tackle childhood obesity flatline (From Oxford Mail)
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New drive on healthy eating message as efforts to tackle childhood obesity flatline
CHILDREN as young as four will be given one-to-one weight advice as figures show efforts to tackle childhood obesity are flatlining.
Group sessions with activities will also be held throughout the county’s school nursing service by the NHS scheme.
County figures for 2011/12 show 15.6 per cent of 10- and 11-year-olds were obese, compared to 15.3 per cent six years before.
In Oxford the figure was even higher – 19.5 per cent, compared to 19 per cent four years before, the earliest available figures.
For reception age children aged four and five, seven per cent of county youngsters were obese. This was eight per cent in 2006/07.
In the city this figure was 8.1 per cent compared to 9.4 per cent four years before, the earliest available.
The figures come despite major national NHS attempts to tackle obesity across all age groups.
In 2008, we reported on a range of county initiatives to improve childrens’ health.
This included healthy school vending machines and lunches and healthy lifestyle lessons for youngsters.
The new scheme – Reach4health – has been launched by Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford Health Foundation NHS Trust.
Julia Grant, service manager for children integrated services at the trust, said poorer children are more likely to be obese.
She said: “Once children are overweight at that age, they tend to become obese adults.
“It is really serious that in that period children are putting on so much weight.”
More than 300 children had been seen one-to-one over the summer, she said.
“Our aim is to introduce healthy eating and activity and they will grow in to their weight.”
School nurse Diane Smith, from Milbrook School, Grove, added: “It is a great opportunity for families and it is a free service.”
Hilary Hibbert-Biles, council cabinet member for public health and the voluntary sector, said: “Reducing this is key to a thriving Oxfordshire – we know that overweight and obese children are more likely to become obese adults and children with obese parents are also more at risk.
“If the trend continues children are likely to develop health problems earlier, including long term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart and liver disease.”