FEWER primary school leavers in Amber Valley are obese, according to latest figures from the National Child Measurement Programme.
Results of the 2010/11 programme – which measures the height and weight of all primary schoolchildren in reception year, and again in their final year – shows that 16.2 per cent of primary school leavers in Amber Valley are now classed as obese compared to 18.4 per cent in the previous year.
Health bosses from NHS Derbyshire County say the figures are below the England average, of 19 per cent, and show a significant reduction in obesity rates in this age group.
Jane Hicken, children’s obesity co-ordinator for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that there’s been a downward trend in obesity in these two age groups, particularly in four to five year olds.
“If this trend continues we will start to realise the benefits as these children get older. But we also know there is more work to do to reduce rising rates in older children where trends in obesity are generally higher both locally and nationally.”
Data taken from primary school children just entering school also reveals that obesity rates in this year group are also on a downward trend – with 9.1 per cent of four to five-year-olds now classified as obese compared to 9.3 per cent last year.
Ms Hicken added: “The programmes currently being delivered across Derbyshire are aimed at pre-schoolchildren and their families and primary schoolchildren, so we’re starting to see an impact on older children.
“But we are rolling out programmes aimed at children aged five to 15 and their families, which works with the whole family to increase physical activity levels, improve nutrition and reduce so-called ‘sedentary’ behaviour such as the amount of time spend watching the TV, playing computer games, and generally being inactive.”
Obesity can cause a range of health problems in children, including Type 2 diabetes, and can be carried into adult life.
Advice given by NHS Derbyshire County to ensure children and families maintain a healthy lifestyle both now and in the future include increasing physical activity through walking, cycling, playing games in the local park and gardening.
Visit www.activederbyshire.co.uk to find out more about healthy activities that are happening in the area.