A THIRD of all 11-year-olds in the Portsmouth area are obese or overweight, shocking new figures reveal.
A total of 1,840 year six pupils across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant are fat – and the blame is being put on junk food TV adverts being shown during shows like The X Factor.
Unfortunately, it’s a fact that parents don’t necessarily realise the danger of too much sugar in the diet.Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education
The British Heart Foundation, which has pulled together the statistics, says weak regulations allow companies to promote meals and snacks high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt.
And local education leaders are urging families to encourage healthy eating at home to stop the situation spiralling out of control.
Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education, said he was concerned at the findings.
He said: ‘These statistics are very worrying.
‘It’s a question of education in the broadest sense. It needs parents, families and educators working together and saying the same things.
‘In schools, we look to provide healthier options. Sometimes a healthy menu is the only one on offer on certain days in schools.
‘Health education has become part and parcel of our Ofsted inspections in schools.’
Cllr Edgar added: ‘Unfortunately, it’s a fact that parents don’t necessarily realise the danger of too much sugar in the diet.’
In Portsmouth, 750 Year 6 pupils – equivalent to 34 per cent of everyone in Year 6 – have been classed as obese or overweight.
In Fareham, the number is 350 – 29 per cent – and in Gosport 300 children are overweight – 32 per cent.
The number of Year 6 children in Havant that are 400 – 34 per cent.
The national average for year six students is 33.2 per cent.
It comes as a House of Commons health committee, made up of MPs from different parties, said a tax on sugary drinks should be introduced to tackle child obesity.
Figures from the National Childhood Measurement Programme – which takes into account a child’s height versus their weight to come out with a body mass index – have also revealed 10 per cent of reception-aged children in Portsmouth are obese.
The BHF say 13 junk food adverts were shown during just one X Factor show last year, promoting snacks such as crisps, chocolate bars and pizzas to the children watching before 9pm.