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Child obesity rates falling
The battle of the Year 6 bulge is being won.
The number of ten and 11-year-olds in Brighton and Hove found to be obese has fallen, new figures have revealed.
However Brighton and Hove City Council’s public health team says there are still areas of concern and a lot of work needs to be done to tackle the city’s weight problem.
Information from the National Child Measurement Programme shows 13.5% of Year 6 pupils weighed in the 2012/13 school year were obese, compared to just over 15% the year before.
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This is well below the national average of just under 18%.
The figures also showed 7.5% of four-and five-year-olds in Reception classes in the city were obese, which is around the same as the year before and well below the national average.
The number of children classed as overweight is also falling.
Brighton and Hove director of public health Tom Scanlon said: “It’s great to see there is at last a positive trend towards achieving healthy body weight among children in Brighton and Hove.
“Families are increasingly appreciating the need for balanced diet and regular exercise in helping children grow into healthy young people.
“However there are still areas for concern across this city and a significant proportion of children are sadly overweight and obese, and in these dif- ficult economic times, buying fresh fruit and vegetables is more difficult for many people.
“Parents need to know they are not alone in tackling this issue and that a range of practical support is available.”
Programmes include the free Family Shape Up scheme, run by Brighton and Hove’s Food Partnership.
Lucy Hockley, 32, of Marine Parade, Brighton, and her daughter Millie Ben- stead, six, joined the Family Shape Up programme after Ms Hockley asked her doctor for healthy eating advice because she was concerned about keeping her and Millie’s weight under control.
She said: “We are now more active as a family and try to exercise much more often.
“Also, I try to cook more foods from scratch so I know what is being added.
“Both Millie and I have more energy and actually enjoy exercising. It has definitely changed our lifestyle for the better.”
For more information, call the healthy weight team on 01273 431703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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