childhood obesity

Report Finds Low Levels of Obesity Amongst Children In Windsor And Maidenhead

Children in Windsor and Maidenhead have been found to have some of the lowest levels of obesity in the UK.

The National Children’s Bureau (NCB) has recently published a report entitled New Beginnings, Health Inequalities Among Young Children Across England, which provides details on the top ten local authorities whose children have the lowest levels of obesity. The report looked at children under five and also looked at factors including tooth decay, accidental injuries and childhood development.

The report found that 6.8% of all 4-5year olds in the borough are obese and 17.6% suffer from tooth decay. More positively, the report found that 66.4% are achieving a good level of childhood development by the end of their reception year at school.

The report found a close link between obesity and poverty, with those local authorities that are more affluent having fewer levels of childhood obesity. The NCB has expressed its concern over the trend:

“It is shocking that two children growing up in neighbouring areas can expect such a wildly different quality of health.

“As these variations are closely linked to poverty, with those in areas with the highest levels of deprivation more likely to suffer from a range of health issues, we have to ask whether England is becoming a nation of two halves?

“The link between poverty and poor health is not inevitable. Work is urgently needed to understand how local health services can lessen the impact of living in a deprived area.”

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau

 

However, the report did also find exceptions to the trend. Children in Hartlepool and South Tyneside have lower levels of tooth decay in addition to children in Salford, Manchester who have low levels of obesity.

The huge levels of disparity concluded in the report suggested that if children in the north west were to receive the same level of healthcare and educational development as children in the south east, 15,000 child health cases could be prevented each year.

 

What Does The Report Mean For Future Plans?

The Department of Health is working on a plan to tackle the rising level of obesity, particularly in poorer areas by ensuring increased amounts of midwives and health visitors and ensuring more children are educated on leading healthier lifestyles. There are also plans to devolve health spending power to local authorities who are better placed to spend the money in areas which need it most.

Indeed, as of 1st October, 152 local health authorities in England will take over health responsibility for under fives from the NHS. However, the new responsibilities will also be followed by a fresh wave of cuts to local authority health grants, amounting to £200 million, which has sparked fears that the reductions will hit health services for the under fives. The cuts will not become effective until 2016, at which point, local authorities will need to make a decision.

If you are a parent or carer, concerned about your child’s weight or dental health you can visit NHS Choices for more information and advice.