Primary school childhood obesity in Redbridge rises, NHS figures reveal

23 per cent of Redbridge's Year 6 pupils are obese, higher than the national average. Picture: Domin

23 per cent of Redbridge's Year 6 pupils are obese, higher than the national average. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Child obesity in Year 6 pupils across the borough has increased again this year – and is above the national average – according to the latest figures.

Statistics, released by NHS Digital last week, reveal that 23 per cent of pupils are classified as obese when they finish primary school, up by 0.4pc from last year.

Nationally the average level of obesity for Year 6 pupils is 19.8pc, almost one in five.

Schoolchildren in Reception in Redbridge have seen a reduction in obesity levels, down to 9.7pc from 11pc – which is still above the national average.

Cllr David Bromiley (Con, Fullwell), who works as a teacher in Newham, said: “I wouldn’t say that necessarily Redbridge was doing something wrong.”

Primary schools across the borough often hold after school sports clubs, and provide lunches up to the national healthy eating standard.

Cllr Bromiley continued: “Unfortunately there’s a problem finding sites for schools, so we’re expanding schools and increasing the number of children but having the same amount of outdoor space.”

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Redbridge Council recently proposed to expand Nightingale School, and may do the same with Churchfields Primary School, both in South Woodford, as part of the Local Plan.

Children and young people cabinet member Cllr Elaine Norman believes there are too many fast food outlets near schools.

She told the Recorder: “I think it’s something that’s a high priority to address.

“It’s a joint approach across the council with public health, schools and planning.”

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said: “This requires co-ordinated and funded government action, but unfortunately the government’s childhood obesity strategy was a disappointment after it was watered down by Theresa May. This comes on top of the real terms cuts to public health budgets.”

The worst local authority in the country for Year 6 pupils was neighbouring Barking and Dagenham, with 28.5pc being classified as obese.