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Monday, 21 April 2014

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One in five Cumbrian primary school pupils ‘obese’

New figures show one in five primary school pupils in Cumbria is obese.

According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, around 20 per cent of children aged 10 and 11, the final year of primary, were classed as obese, and another 16 per cent were overweight.

The centre surveyed 4,282 year six pupils across the county and found the problem to be worse in the west, particularly Allerdale, where it rose to almost one in four.

Figures showed: 19 per cent of Carlisle pupils in Year Six were classed as obese, 22 in Copeland, 23.4 in Allerdale and the figure was lowest in Eden, at 16 per cent. The survey showed obesity levels increased as the children got older, when compared to pupils in reception class, aged four and five.

Of the 4,363 children surveyed, results showed nine per cent of reception pupils were obese in Carlisle and Allerdale, 11.8 in Copeland and 10 per cent in Eden.

Experts say children who live in comfortably or well-off families are 10 times less likely to be overweight than children in families that struggle to make ends meet.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said the problem was largely down to a lack of exercise and poor diet.

“With so many opportunities to watch TV or play computer games, and with so much convenience food available, we don’t move about as much, or eat as well as we used to,” he said.

“Being overweight isn’t just about the way we look. It can lead to more aches and pains, problems sleeping and people report a loss of energy and confidence. It also increases our chances of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers in later life.

“There’s a wide range of advice and information covering healthy eating and exercise for all the family on the county council-supported government programme Change For Life.”

For details on change for life see www.nhs.uk/change4life/Pages/change-for-life

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