Shocking figures reveal extent of Hackney’s childhood obesity problem

Cllr Jonathan McShane

Cllr Jonathan McShane - Credit: Archant

A staggering 41 per cent of children in Hackney aged 11-years-old are overweight or obese - according to the latest figures.

The data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for 2014/15 highlights the issue in the borough with 26 per cent of reception children also overweight or obese.

Out of all London’s boroughs, Hackney is fourth and fifth highest in the respective categories.

Despite the borough having the seventh highest rate of obesity in reception children in England, it is an improvement from having the highest rate in the country last year.

It is also the lowest rate of obesity in reception children recorded in Hackney since the NCMP began in 2007/08.

The Hackney Health and Wellbeing Board insist that tackling childhood obesity remains a key priority.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for Health, Social Care and Culture said: “One of the council’s priorities, with NHS and voluntary sector partners, is to encourage residents of all ages to lead healthier lives and provide them with opportunities to get involved in regular physical activity.

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“For younger children, this is particularly important as it’s an opportunity to instil good healthy eating and exercise habits early to avoid health concerns which could occur in later life.”

Proposals put forward in the report to tackle childhood obesity include tougher controls around the opening of fast food takeaways near schools and banning junk food adverts.

Hackney Council has launched a campaign focused on this which looks to encourage healthier diets.

Cllr McShane added: “Through programmes like Health Heroes and Personal Best that run in schools, our free Hackney Active Kids guide and our sustained focus on encouraging a healthy start for 0-5 year-olds and their families, i.e. with our launch of ‘Eat Better, Start Better’ food and drink guidelines in early years settings, children and their parents are encouraged to make healthier choices and lead more active lives.”