Third of children overweight

For the first time the heights and weights of reception children in Wales have been gathered and the results are worrying.

Health experts 'worried about obesity crisis'

by Tom Sheldrick

Health experts say they're worried about the extent of the obesity crisis in Wales, as figures reveal almost one in three young children are overweight or obese.

It's the first time the heights and weights of five-year-old children have been gathered in this way - and the obesity figure for Wales is significantly higher than in England.

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Headline figures 'are worrying'

The findings are from a national programme run by Public Health Wales, which collected information on the heights and weights of nearly 30,000 reception age children.

This is the first time we have had a clear picture of the how children in Wales are growing and although the headline figures are worrying, this is something that can be reversed.

We must have a response from all sectors in society including health, education and local communities themselves to ensure our children are able to adopt healthy lifestyles.

– Dr Ciaran Humprheys, Public Health consultant

I welcome this first report on the growth of children at school entry across Wales. Having good information is the basis for effective action on healthy child growth and to reduce childhood obesity. This report provides a baseline from which we can monitor our progress as a nation and more locally, into the future. Together, we must work for a healthy, active and resilient community in Wales where all children have the best start in life.

– Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales

Nearly a third of Welsh five year olds are overweight

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Just over 12 percent of children were found to be obese Credit: Press Association Images

For the first time the heights and weights of reception children in Wales have been gathered and the results are worrying. Nearly 30 percent of five year olds are overweight and 12.5 per cent of children are classed as obese.

This prevalence is highest in Merthyr Tydfil (34 per cent) and the national figure for Wales is significantly higher than England, where 23 per cent of children are classed as overweight or obese.