Obesity crisis worsens as 11-year-old boy reaches 24 stone

obesityEngland’s childhood obesity epidemic could be much worse than first thought following the publication of alarming NHS statistics which show that seven school children have tipped the scales at over 20 stone. The figures come from the National Child Measurement Programme, an England-wide initiative whereby schoolchildren are weighed and measured twice prior to reaching the age of 12.

The most overweight child in the country has been revealed to be an 11-year-old boy from Manchester, who at 4ft 4in was found to weigh a staggering 23 stone 11lb in 2011-2012, meaning the boy’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was 84.2.

To put this into perspective; this is approximately twice the weight of a healthy male who is 5ft 10in tall and you are in fact medically classified as obese with a BMI reading of between 30 and 35. Anybody with a BMI of over 40 is deemed ‘morbidly obese’ and is 80 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than someone of a normal weight and you are also likely to lose 10 years off your lifespan.

However, prior to this discovery, a 10-year-old girl from Hounslow, West London, was one of many school children measured and weighed during 2006-2007 for the government’s yearly weigh-in of all year-six pupils. The girl was 4ft 10in tall and weighed in at 24 stone 5lb.

Between 2006 and 2012, there were a total of seven children who weight more than 127kg (20 stone). This included an 11-year-old girl from Bolton, Greater Manchester, whose weight was recorded at 22 stone 11lb during 2012-2012, giving her a BMI of 69. A few years before this in 2007-2008, a 10-year-old boy from Wandsworth, South-West London, weighed 21 stone 10lb and had a BMI of 79.

According to a study published in June conducted by Imperial College London, the number of children admitted to hospital due to obesity-related health problems has shot-up more than four-fold in the last decade, and it seems the problem could spiral out of control unless an urgent intervention is made. Asthma, diabetes and sleeping difficulties are all on the rise because of obesity.

Moreover, statistics from the National Child Measurement Programme show that around one in 10 children are obese when they begin primary school and a third are obese by the time they come to leave, and obesity rates for children in the UK are the highest in Western Europe. Also, it seems that rates are significantly higher in the more deprived communities around the country.

Professor Mitch Blair, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, spoke to the Sunday Times and said: “Being severely overweight at such a young age has clear physical health implications including a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and joint problems. In addition there can be serious psychological repercussions. Teenage years are tough enough without the extra burden of being obese.”

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, commented: “We have come to accept that 26 per cent of adults in the UK are obese. But we should be outraged that 20 per cent of children are too…We are waiting for children to get fat and then doing something about it. What we should be doing is monitoring them, so before they get fat we have already started to sort them out.”

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