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One in four Year 6 pupils in Tower Hamlets are obese

PUBLISHED: 14:08 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 15 February 2018

Bexley has one of the highest levels of child obesity in London Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Images

Bexley has one of the highest levels of child obesity in London Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Images

PA/Press Association Images

Child obesity levels in Tower Hamlets are among the highest in the capital, a new survey reveals.

One in four (27.1 per cent) Year 6 pupils in the borough were considered obese, according to an NHS report made public on Tuesday.

The data found children aged between 10 and 11 years old in Barking and Dagenham were more than twice as likely to be obese than the borough with the lowest figure, Richmond upon Thames (12.6pc).

Public Health England regional director Yvonne Doyle said the capital’s “obesity emergency” had become “a normal response to an abnormal environment”.

“London has a worse record on childhood obesity than most other peer global cities such as New York, Paris and Madrid,” she said.

“Over a third of London’s children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.”

A total of 2,765 Londoners took part in the survey, 296 of whom were from Tower Hamlets.

The figures show one in ten (11.6pc) Reception-age children in the borough between four and five years old are obese.

Barking and Dagenham has the highest proportion of obese Reception pupils at 13.9pc, followed closely by Greenwich (13pc).

A spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets Council said the council “is working to promote a healthier diet and more physical activity in schools and with parents and families across the borough.”

A number of programmes are in place to encourage “good nutrition” and exercise for children, they added.

More than half of Londoners surveyed saw a flood of cheap, unhealthy food and drinks as the main factor leading kids away from healthy lives.

Two fifths thought there were too many fast food shops in their area, with a third stating that safety concerns about children meant youngsters did not receive enough exercise.

The findings followed similar results in the British Attitudes to Obesity Survey, where 91pc of respondents felt fast food was too easily available.

But a strong appetite existed for tackling childhood obesity, the NHS survey concluded, with 86pc of Londoners believing the issue should be a “top or high priority”.

For more information about tackling child obesity visit nhs.uk/livewell.

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