27 per cent of children live in poverty in south of Redbridge, figures show

Children are more likely to be obese and almost 30 per cent are living in poverty, said a new report detailing problems faced by Redbridge youngsters.

Almost 16,000 children are said to be living in poverty – five per cent higher than the national average – according to the borough’s annual public health report 2012/2013.

A geographical divide was revealed with 27 per cent of under-16s growing up in the south of the borough deemed to be in poverty compared with 18 per cent in the north, according to data released by The Campaign to End Child Poverty.

Loxford ward had the highest number of children in this category with 43 per cent, which helped put the borough above the national average of 21.9 per cent.

The report said that childhood obesity remains a “challenging” issue for Redbridge, with the percentage of obese children aged 10 and 11 increasing since 2009.

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More than 1,150 children under 11 are obese and only half of youngsters are participating in three hours of sport/PE each week.

Obesity in children aged four and five has dropped slightly in the last year, from 12.2 to 11.5 per cent, but there is still some way to go to reach the national average which stands at less than 10 per cent.

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Redbridge director of public health, Gladys Xavier, said: “After a child is identified as obese, we work with the family for the next six months and gradually we do see a change.”

NHS East London and the City wants to focus on raising the profile of cycling, walking, swimming, games and dance, as well as working with schools.

Ms Xavier, who says there does appear to be a link “nationally” between poverty and obesity, added: “We are working hard to implement an obesity strategy, which starts early and encourages mothers to breast feed.

“I am confident we will bring the number of obese children in Redbridge down, but it will take time.”

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