The County You Live, Work And Play
Rising Obesity Among Primary Pupils
The percentage of Lanarkshire school children who are obese or severely obese in primary one has increased. New government figures have revealed a tiny year-on-year rise, following a survey of over 7000 youngsters.
It means that 5.9 per cent of P1 kids have been classified as being either obese or severely obese – compared to 5.8 per cent last year.
However, the statistics for Lanarkshire are better than the Scottish average.
Across the country, 6.2 per cent of primary one pupils are either obese or severely obese, down from 6.4 per cent the previous year.
Jonathan Cavana, NHS Lanarkshire’s child healthy weight programme manager, said: “NHS Lanarkshire and its partners are involved in a range of initiatives to encourage children and young people to adopt more active lifestyles and healthier diets. We would encourage parents to take advantage of the programmes that are available to them.
“Our package of support includes the Healthy Schools and Healthy Families programmes which are based on a sustainable approach to the long-term prevention of unhealthy weight gain in childhood. The aim is to support children and their families to make positive lifestyle choices related to food and exercise which will help them to achieve and maintain a healthy weight status now and into adulthood.”
The latest figures for 2014/15 were released by Information Services Division Scotland, a part of NHS Scotland which provides health service data used in planning.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) of 7067 children of primary one age was looked at across the NHS Lanarkshire area, compared to 7195 the previous year.
The survey shows 0.6 per cent (down from 0.8 the previous year) were underweight; 85.8 (85.4) per cent were at a healthy weight; 7.7 (8) per cent were overweight; 3.6 (3.3) per cent were obese; and 2.3 (2.5) per cent were severely obese.
While the percentage of obese or severely obese in primary ones across Lanarkshire has increased, the actual number dipped slightly from 417 to 416.
The report from ISD Scotland states: “There is continued concern over the levels of overweight and obesity among children in Scotland.
“Obesity during childhood is a health concern in itself, but can also lead to physical and mental health problems in later life, such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, back pain, increased risk of certain cancers, low self-esteem and depression.
“Being underweight in childhood can also be a cause for concern, indicating poor nutritional intake and/or underlying medical problems.”
The statistics are derived from height and weight measurements recorded at the primary one health review. And the report adds: “Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most widely used methods for assessing body composition in children aged two years or older and adults. BMI is calculated by dividing an individual’s weight (in kilograms) by their height squared (in metres2) and gives an indication of whether weight is in proportion to height.
“Whilst BMI generally gives a good indication of body composition, it can occasionally misclassify individuals with heavy musculature as being overweight or obese.”
Primary one pupils are more likely to be either obese or severely obese in North Lanarkshire, compared to South Lanarkshire.
The health divide was revealed in figures from ISD Scotland.
In the south of the county a total of 5.7 per cent of P1s were found to be either obese or severely obese. However, that figure rose to 6.2 per cent in the north.
The survey shows that in South Lanarkshire 0.4 per cent are underweight; 86.2 per cent are healthy; 7.7 per cent are overweight; 3.4 per cent are obese; and 2.3 per cent are severely obese.
In North Lanarkshire 0.8 per cent are underweight; 85.4 per cent are healthy; 7.6 per cent are overweight; 3.8 per cent are obese; and 2.4 per cent are severely obese.