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Child obesity in England "a state of emergency": health experts
Last Updated: 2016-11-04 22:53 | Xinhua
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A leading expert in child health said Thursday obesity and overweight in children in England is entering a state of emergency.

Professor Russell Viner of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health was commenting after new figures were published showing the number of young children who are obese or overweight has gone up in the past year.

The statistics were compiled by the National Child Measurement Program, England (NCMP) for the 2015/16 school year, and published Thursday by NHS Digital.

More than one in three children aged 10 or 11 in English schools, 34.2 percent year 6 were obese in 2015-16. More than one in five children, aged 4 or 5 (22.1 percent) were overweight obese in their age group.

NCMP said the prevalence of obesity has risen from 9.1 percent in 2014-15 to 9.3 percent in 2015-16 for children aged 4 or 5, and from 19.1 percent to 19.8 percent for those in year 6 (aged 10 or 11).

Professor Viner, who said the figures are a "stark reminder" of how serious the problem was, called on the British government to do more to tackle obesity. He wants more restrictions on junk food advertising and marketing.

"It is not an understatement to say we are entering a state of emergency," added Professor Viner.

Professor Kevin Fenton, national director for Health and Wellbeing, at Public Health England, said: "It is deeply worrying that more children are leaving primary school overweight or obese than ever before and levels are increasing."

Obesity levels in children aged 4 or 5 living in the most deprived areas of England was 12.5 percent, more than double similar aged children living in the least deprived areas (5.5 percent) .

Among 10 and 11 year old children, 26 percent living in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 11.7 percent living in the least deprived areas.

The figures also show boys are more likely to be overweight or obese than girls.

The NCMP measures the height and weight of over one million children in England annually and provides robust data on which reception and year 6 children are underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese.

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