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Childhood obesity falls

Published: 16 Feb 2016 09:40

Proportion of healthy weight children increases.

Childhood obesity has fallen in the last year, according to new statistics published today.

The proportion of Primary 1 children classed as healthy weight has increased from 76.4 per cent in 2013/14 to 77.1 per cent in 2014/15.

The proportion of children at risk of being overweight has fallen from 12.5 per cent to 12.0 per cent over the same period, and the proportion at risk of obesity has dropped from 10.1 per cent to 9.8 per cent.

The proportion of healthy weight children has increased from 76.2 per cent in 2006/07, but has been relatively stable since in the last few years.

The prevalence of healthy weight was slightly higher among girls than boys. In school year 2014/15, 77.8 per cent of girls were classified as 'healthy weight' compared to 76.5 per cent of boys.

There also continues to be a link between deprivation and childhood obesity, with children living in the most deprived communities being more likely to be at risk of being overweight.

ISD Scotland published the Primary 1 Body Mass Index (BMI) statistics for the 2014/15 school year today.

Maureen Watt, Minister for Public Health, said:

"It's encouraging to see that the percentage of healthy weight children has increased since last year, and those at risk of being overweight has decreased. We will continue to take action on a range of fronts to continue this trend and reduce childhood obesity further.

"Obesity is a notable public health issue in most of western Europe, and Scotland is no exception. The Scottish Government is committed to addressing it by taking action to improve diets and encourage physical activity.

"We are working with the food and drink industry through reformulation programmes and schemes like Supporting Healthy Choices. We are running campaigns like Eat Better Feel Better to encourage healthy eating, as well as pushing the UK Government to introduce a ban on alcohol and junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed.

"There has been an increase in the proportion of children doing two hours or periods of PE from less than 10 per cent in 2004/5 to 98 per cent in 2015. We're on track to deliver 150 community sports hubs across all local authority areas, and our £10 million Active Places Fund has benefited 188 projects right across Scotland. The Active Schools and Active Girls programmes have also contributed to the number of children meeting the physical activity guidelines of being active for at least 60 minutes per day increasing in recent years. "

Background:

Primary 1 Body Mass Index (BMI) statistics Scotland - School Year 2014/15 can be read in full at www.isdscotland.org.