Revealed – More than a third of Ipswich year 6 pupils now overweight or obese

More than a third of year 6 pupils are overweight or obese in Ipswich, figures reveal  Picture: GETTY IMAGES

More than a third of year 6 pupils are overweight or obese in Ipswich, figures reveal Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Ipswich is now above the national and regional average for overweight and obese children in year 6, it can be revealed.

Sandy Martin MP  Picture: NK Martin MP Picture: NK

More than a third (34.7%) of year 6 pupils are overweight or obese according to data from the National Child Measurement Programme.

Waveney follows close behind Ipswich, with 33.5% of year 6 pupils. The average across England is 34.3% while the average across Suffolk is 31.3%.

The report reveals obesity rates are highest for children from the most deprived areas.

"I think there's an issue with the kind of sport and activity that people do at school," said Ipswich MP Sandy Martin.

"I also think parents who live walking or cycling distance to school need to think long and hard before deciding to drive their children to school."

The figures have been published ahead of a Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board meeting, on September 26, which will be asked to endorse and support Suffolk's childhood obesity action plan, setting out the county's vision for tackling the issue.

Its priorities include improving access for affordable, healthier food, improving access for physical activity and improving support for children and young people to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

James Reeder, cabinet member for health and prevention at Suffolk County Council, said the board aimed to ensure children get the best start in life.

He said: "The county council's public health team is spearheading this work by developing a 'whole systems approach' to obesity, taking joint action with the NHS, schools, leisure providers, local councils and a range of other partners to support young people to enjoy a healthy weight, reducing health harms and a longer term burden on health and care services.

"Good progress is being made already, with organisations encouraged to bid for grants of up to £1,000 to reduce young people's sugar intake, school meal providers reducing the sugar content by 20% and targeted programmes in school such as the Daily Mile, which encourages physical activity. This plan recognises that healthy weight is everyone's responsibility and it will take a sustained effort to bring about long-term change."

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