Children growing up in the North East are more likely to be obese than in any other region of England – with more than a quarter of 10 and 11 year-olds at an unhealthy weight.
The latest NHS figures show that 25.8% of Year 6 pupils who had their height and weight measured this year were above healthy limits and classed as obese. That has fallen from 26.6% last year, when youngsters were still suffering the after-effects of months of Covid-19 lockdowns, and the isolation and inactivity it brought.
But it is still the highest of any region in England and higher than before the pandemic when 22.8% of children measured in 2018/19 were obese. In the North East, Newcastle upon Tyne has the highest rates, with around three in 10 Year 6 children classed as obese (29.2%), followed by Middlesbrough (28.5%) and Sunderland (26.9%). Obesity rates are lowest in North Tyneside (22.1%).
You can see the rates where you live, and how it compares with the rest of the country, using our interactive map.
Obesity increases the risk of developing a range of health conditions in childhood and later life, such as heart disease, high blood pressure; diabetes, and some cancers. Obese children are much more likely to become obese adults, which may lead to significant health risks.
Poor children are far more likely to suffer from obesity than wealthier classmates.
Research completed by the Nuffield Trust last year showed that local authorities with the highest percentage of children living in low-income families had, on average, 6.9% more overweight or obese Year 6 children than the most affluent areas with the lowest rates of poverty.
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