THE percentage of overweight children in Portsmouth has increased.
Figures for 2009/10, the latest published, show that one in eight reception children, and more than one in five 11-year-olds are obese.
The results found 16.1 per cent of pupils aged 16 were overweight – an increase from the previous year which was 15.3 per cent.
Portsmouth is also above the national and regional average for reception-aged children (four to five) and year six pupils classified as obese.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of public health in Portsmouth, said: ‘A great deal of effort has been put into tackling childhood obesity, but clearly more needs to be done, is being done and will be done.
‘We will be working closely with the Children’s Trust Board’s pre-birth to five years group, to ensure the obesity agenda is championed by all agencies. Many things can contribute to obesity – including social, financial and cultural factors as well as knowledge, skills, access, educational attainment – so tackling the issue at its roots will need the support and involvement of a number of organisations citywide.’
NHS Portsmouth has drawn up plans to tackle the problem, which includes introducing a peer support programme for pregnant women that looks at healthy eating and exercise, and evaluation of school obesity work.