Nearly a third of year six children in Norfolk are obese, new figures reveal

A person using a set of weighing scales. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

A person using a set of weighing scales. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Nearly a third of 10- to 11-year-olds in Norfolk are obese, it has been revealed, as parents in the county are being urged to look for healthier snacks for their children..

Figures from Public Health England (PHE) found 31.1pc of children in year six (aged 10 and 11) were obese or overweight.

The percentage is a stark rise from reception age (four to five), where 22.8pc of Norfolk’s children were in the category.

PHE also revealed that every year children in the east of England are eating 400 biscuits; more than 120 cakes, buns and pastries; around 100 portions of sweets; nearly 70 of both chocolate bars and ice creams; washed down with over 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.

On average, children are consuming at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming 4 or more.

The overall result is children consume three times more sugar than is recommended.

PHE has launched a new campaign, under the Change4Life banner, to promote healthier snacks.

It encourages parents to look for 100 calorie snacks, which should only be eaten twice a day.

Dr Barbara Paterson, deputy director for health and wellbeing at PHE east of England said: “Changing our children’s snacking habits can be a real challenge and we want to make it easier for families to find healthier options.

“By asking parents to look for 100 calories snacks, two a day max, we’re helping them to give heathier snacks, while giving them less frequently.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: “The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar. Children are having unhealthy snacks throughout the day and parents have told us they’re concerned.”

PHE has also improved its Change4Life food scanner app, which shows parents how many calories, sugar, salt, and saturated fat is in their food.

It is hoped it will make it easier to make healthy choices.

PHE is working with the food industry nationally to cut 20pc of sugar from the products children consume most by 2020, with work to reduce calories due to start in 2018.

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