One-fifth of P1s 'at risk of being overweight or obese'

Proportion of P1s from the most deprived areas of Scotland who are at risk of being overweight or obese is increasing

Tes Reporter

Child obesity: One-fifth of P1 pupils in Scotland are at risk of being overweight or obese, research shows

Nearly one in four children in the first year of primary are at risk of being  overweight or obese, according to official statistics.

Figures published by ISD  (Information Services Division) Scotland showed that  34,294 (76.6 per cent) were of a healthy weight in 2018-2019.

A total of 5,459 (12.2 per cent) were at risk of being overweight, while 4,590 (10.2 per cent) were said to be at risk of obesity.

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Some 439 children (1 per cent) were said to be at risk of being underweight.

Tackling child obesity

Since 2001-02, the proportion of P1 children at risk of being overweight or obese has increased in the most deprived areas but decreased in the least deprived areas.

In the most recent figures, of the 9,561 children recorded in the most deprived areas in Scotland, 2,526 (26.4 per cent) were judged to be at risk of being either overweight or obese.

In the least deprived areas, 1,614 (17.6 per cent) of 9,182 children were at risk of being overweight or obese.

ISD Scotland also found that boys in P1 were slightly less likely than girls to have a healthy weight.

Of the 22,846 boys in the study, 5,317 (23.3 per cent) were at risk of being overweight or obesity.

The figure was slightly lower for girls in P1 with 4,732 (21.6 per cent) of the 21,936 who were measured said to be at the same risk.

A Scottish government spokesman said: "We are determined to improve Scotland's diet and our ambition is to halve child obesity by 2030 and significantly reduce diet-related health inequalities.

"Wide-ranging action includes the introduction of a Restricting Foods Promotions Bill before the end of this Parliamentary session to restrict junk food promotions that encourage impulse-buying and overconsumption.

"The Scottish government and [local authorities body] Cosla will establish a new national health body, Public Health Scotland, on April 1 2020, which will have a leading role in supporting work to tackle health inequalities."

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