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One in three 10-year-olds in Leicester schools is now classed as overweight

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More than a third of children leaving city primary schools are now classed as overweight or obese, according to new figures.

The figures show that 35 per cent of the 3,144 year six pupils, aged 10 and 11, who were weighed at school in the past year were over their recommended weight – an increase on last year's figure of 33 per cent.

Of these, 645 of the pupils were classed as obese.

A city council spokesman said: "The most important figure to come from this report is the increase in the number of year six children classed as overweight, and this has been an ongoing concern for us.

"We will continue to focus our efforts on primary school aged children through a range of activities at school level and beyond.

"We offer a programme of activities in schools emphasising the importance of a healthy diet, regular exercise, taking part in sports, active travel such as walking or cycling, right from early years up to older children."

Councillor Rory Palmer, deputy city mayor responsible for health, said: "We all know the benefits of being a healthy weight and taking part in regular exercise.

"This is important for children and adults and we will continue to take steps to help people lead healthy lives, both through exercise and diet."

The figures, published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show that the number of overweight and obese children who started school in the city last September has gone up from 22.9 per cent last year to 23.8 per cent.

A total of 412 four and five year olds were deemed to be obese, compared to 383 last year.

Obesity is measured by a child's body mass index, which is calculated using both height and weight and taking into account age and sex.

The number of children weighing more than they should in Leicestershire has also risen.

This year, 14.7 per cent of children weighed in year six were overweight, compared to 13 per cent the previous year.

More than 1,000 of the 6,655 children in year six fell into the obese category.

Mike Sandys, a consultant in public health for Leicestershire, said he was disappointed at the rise: "Obesity as an issue is not going to go away overnight. This is the first time in two years our figures have risen, but we are determined not to give up."

Mr Sandys said a number of schemes are already in place to encourage more physical activity and healthy eating.

Almost all schools in the county have "healthy school status" which means they promote healthy eating and physical activity.

He said: "We have invested in sports and are looking at other schemes to promote activity in the 16 to 25-year age group."

The figures, gathered from the National Childhood Measurement Programme, show that 23.8 per cent of 3,717 youngsters aged four and five, who were weighed and measured when they began school in September last year, were either overweight or obese.

One in three 10-year-olds in Leicester schools is now classed as overweight


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