Figures show that more than one in five children are ‘obese’ in Merton

Figures from the Child Measurement Programme show that 21 per cent of year six children in Merton are considered to be obese, writes Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter.

And five per cent of these children are in the severely obese category, meaning they have a BMI of 40 or more.

Nationally, 20 per cent are classified as being obese.

Merton council runs a Child Healthy Weight Steering Group, which brings together different organisations to try and address the challenge of childhood obesity.

Councillor Tobin Byers, cabinet member for health, said this has involved number of different projects.

It includes delivering the ‘Great Weight Debate Merton’ engagement to tackle obesity as well as developing a child-healthy weight support service which provides one-to-one consultations with families and their children to support lifestyle change.

Cllr Byers said: “The council has had a focus on tackling childhood obesity for a number of years. The annual report from the Director of Public Health in 2016-17, Tackling Childhood Obesity Together, made a call to action to partners to work together on solutions.

“The council recently launched a new Child Healthy Weight Action Plan to build on this work over the next three years.

This includes a number of measures centred around three overarching priorities: making childhood obesity everyone’s business; supporting children, young people and their families; and ensuring Merton is a healthy place to live and work.”

Merton Council has also delivered training for 378 school staff on raising awareness and talking about childhood obesity.

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