Response to new childhood overweight and obesity statistics

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The King’s Fund has today responded to the National Child Measurement Programme data for England for 2016/17, which has found that over a quarter of reception children were overweight or obese.

David Buck, Senior Fellow in Public Health and Inequalities at The King’s Fund, said: ‘The government needs to demonstrate its commitment to children’s health by setting out a stronger strategy for how it and others can reduce the percentage of children who are overweight and obese. While progress on reducing the amount of sugar in soft drinks has been a welcome step forward, these are problems where a ‘pick-and-mix’ approach to policies is nowhere near enough to address one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.

‘The latest data also shows that inequalities are widening, with children from the most deprived areas more than twice as likely to be obese as those from the least deprived.  At a time when action is badly needed, councils are struggling to find funds to support childhood obesity prevention and the government’s childhood obesity plan is over-reliant on voluntary measures and working with industry, despite its welcome commitment to the sugar levy.’

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