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One in three year six pupils in Ipswich overweight or obese government data reveals

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 November 2016

Free sports events are laid on during school holidays in Ipswich to keep youngsters active

Free sports events are laid on during school holidays in Ipswich to keep youngsters active

Archant

One in three year six pupils in Ipswich is overweight or obese, latest government figures have revealed.

Suffolk County Council's Tony GoldsonSuffolk County Council's Tony Goldson

Key findings from the government’s National Child Measurement Programme revealed in Ipswich, 33.3% of year six pupils – those aged 10 and 11 – were considered overweight or obese – above the county’s average of 31.3%.

For youngsters in reception – those aged four and five – the figure was 21.3%, slightly lower than the 22.3% Suffolk average.

Worryingly, those findings showed that around one in five pupils will start primary school overweight, while one in three will leave primary school above a healthy weight figure, suggesting that more youngsters were gaining weight during their progression through primary school.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said the figures were a concern and could impact on other areas of a child’s lifestyle.

Ipswich Borough Council Bryony Rudkin Ipswich Borough Council Bryony Rudkin

“Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese are not only more likely to become obese adults, but are also at an increased risk of developing associated physical health, emotional and social problems,” he said.

“Excess weight can have a negative effect on children’s emotional wellbeing through stigmatisation and low self-esteem, which can contribute to poorer levels of educational attainment.

“Suffolk County Council’s Public Health team are working with OneLife Suffolk to support children and their families across the county to make healthier choices and with schools to support whole school approaches to healthier eating and increasing physical activity levels.”

While the percentage of overweight and obese year sixes was below the national average of 34.2%, the number of overweight or obese reception pupils was higher than the national average of 22.1%.

Ipswich Borough Council organises sports activities for youngsters each school holiday to keep them active, which council staff urged families to take advantage of.

Bryony Rudkin, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “We are keen to play our part in resolving this serious national issue. We put on a comprehensive programme of sporting events throughout the year aimed at young people, and many of these are free, in the neighbourhood and brilliantly accessible.

“We hope to see more people well enjoy taking part.”

OneLife Suffolk has been delivering free sessions to help youngsters enjoy active lifestyles, which session organisers are urging parents to sign their children up for.

A OneLife spokeswoman said: “The programmes are designed to benefit the whole family and take place after school, covering topics from snacking and eating out, to food labels and portion sizes, as well as the importance of getting your five a day.”

The cause is currently offering spaces for its January sessions, which can be booked by calling 01473 718193 or emailing info@onelifesuffolk.co.uk.

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