One in ten school-starters is obese, a figure that doubles by senior school
Worrying figures show this rises to 20% by Year SixAnd that 65% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese in the UK
Number of people having weight loss surgery or being admitted to hospital due to obesity has also soared

Jenny Hope


16:01 GMT, 20 February 2013



01:28 GMT, 21 February 2013

One in 10 children is obese when they start school, say shocking new figures.

By the time they are ready to go to senior school, the proportion has doubled to almost 20 per cent.

Overall, three in 10 boys and girls aged two to 15 are overweight or clinically obese – so fat it threatens their health.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) give a snapshot of England’s obesity epidemic in 2011.

Unhealthy: Almost half of the children who were obese thought they were about the right weight

Unhealthy: Almost half of the children who were obese thought they were about the right weight

It shows adults are getting even
bigger, with more obese people needing hospital treatment although the
trend may be ‘flattening out’ among children.

In 2011/12, 9.5 per cent of children
in reception class aged four and five were classed as obese, rising to
one in five pupils in year 6 aged 10 and 11.

Significantly, almost half of parents whose children are obese wrongly thought they were ‘about the right weight’.

Older children are more likely to be obese than younger – boys are worse
than girls – but the ‘lack of significant change in recent years
suggests the trend is flattening out’.

But the figures show a worsening picture among adults, with a ‘marked increase’ in obesity over the last 20 years.

Overall, 65 per cent of men and 58
per cent of women are overweight or obese – just 37 per cent are classed
as a ‘normal’ weight.

In 1993, 13 per cent of men and 16
per cent of women were obese and the figures soared to 24 per cent and
26 per cent respectively by 2011.

There has also been a stark rise in obesity-related hospital admissions.

Obese: The study showed that 65 per cent of men were clinically obese, a significant increase over the last 20 years

Obese: The study showed that 65 per cent of men were clinically obese, a significant increase over the last 20 years

In 2011/12, 11,740 people were
admitted to hospitals in England because of obesity – up threefold in
five years – with the number of women three times higher than men.

Stomach operations designed to help fat people lose weight also shot up, says the HSCIC.

In 2011/12, 8,790 people underwent a
procedure to help them lose weight – such as stomach stapling or a
gastric bypass – a fourfold rise in five years.

Over the same period, people bought less fruit and vegetables, with fruit sales falling 4.1 per cent in 2011 compared to 2008.

The amount of vegetables bought was 2.4 per cent lower – with a 6.6 per cent drop in fresh green vegetables.

Only 36 per cent of adults were found
to take part in 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity at least once
a week HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said ‘It won’t have escaped
the majority of people that obesity is a high profile issue in this


‘This annual report is important in
bringing clarity to how this actually affects people, patients and the
NHS, from the weighing scales to the operating theatre.

‘Based on the Body Mass Index
measurement, the proportion of adults estimated to be of a normal weight
has dropped substantially since this report’s time series began in

Graham Rowan, chairman of the Obesity
Management Association, said ‘The obesity epidemic is getting worse by
the day and steadily spiralling out of control.’

Amy Thompson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at
the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said ‘These figures hold a mirror
to the state of the country’s health – and it is not a flattering

‘The number of people who are
overweight or obese is steadily climbing and unhealthy lifestyle choices
are helping us along this path.

'After our Olympic year, it is a sad
fact that only a third of us manage 30 minutes of physical activity once
a week, when we should all be aiming for 150 minutes every week to keep
our hearts healthy.

‘Alarmingly, over 1 in 10 children
are now classed as obese when they start school. We know that obese
children are more likely to become obese adults, but education is the
way to break this cycle.

By teaching children about healthy
eating and inspiring them to be active at a young age, we can help these
kids towards a healthier future.’

Labour’s shadow public health
minister Diane Abbott said ‘The Government is receiving warning after
warning that it has a serious crisis on its hands, and that their
strategy is not working, and yet David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt are
simply not listening.

‘These figures show British children
and families paying the cost of this Government’s total lack of
leadership on this growing crisis, which is storing up huge problems and
costs for our NHS, and for the country.’