Alarming rates of childhood obesity in Colnbrook revealed
Colnbrook with Poyle has by far the highest rates locally of obesity amongst both Reception and Year 6 pupils. That’s the stark finding of research into Childhood Obesity rates across the borough.
The report commissioned by Scrutiny & Overview Committee, which includes Colnbrook’s Cllr Dexter Smith, was discussed at a meeting at Chalvey Community Centre on Monday 8th.
Across the borough obesity rates are stubbornly rising in Slough. Last year 11.8% of reception aged children were assessed as obese, against an average for the South East which has fallen to 8.3% in recent years.
For Year 6 21.3% were obese against a South East average of 16.5%.
But across the borough there is a wide disparity in rates, with Colnbrook’s 17.4% obesity in reception children double that of Cippenham Green’s 8.7%. For Year 10 Colnbrook with Poyle shares the bottom spot with Chalvey with a quarter of 10-11 year olds in the ward now considered obese.
The figures released by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2 weeks ago show a higher proportion of obesity amongst boys than amongst girls.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges facing the 21st Century. In England, the latest figures, for 2011/12, show that 19.2% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) were obese and a further 14.7% were overweight. Of children in Reception (aged 4-5), 9.5% were obese and another 13.1% were overweight. This means almost a third of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds were overweight or obese.
Obesity is associated with a range of health problems including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, with obese children and adolescents at an increased risk of developing these health problems. The resulting NHS costs attributable to overweight and obesity (in adults and children) are projected to reach £9.7 billion by 2050.
The report shows there is a “weak statistical correlation” between ward level childhood obesity and low family income but says that while low income appears to have a role in describing Slough childhood obesity, it is not the only factor involved locally:
“The rising prevalence of obesity is multi-factorial, including genetic factors influencing the susceptibility of a given child to an obesity-conducive environment. However, environmental factors, lifestyle preferences, behavioural, psychological, social, cultural and environmental factors are thought to determine the increasing prevalence of obesity.”
Dr Onteeru Reddy, public health programme manager, told the meeting:
“Where there are higher levels of deprivation, for example Central, Chalvey, and Colnbrook, we are seeing a direct coalition with obesity. Many families cannot afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, especially if they’re a big family, and fast food is cheaper. Deprivation doesn’t cause obesity directly but it’s a big factor.”
He also added factors such obese parents, cultural differences, lack of breast feeding, unhealthy lifestyles and fast food outlets also contributed to child obesity in Slough.
The committee was told that healthy eating in schools, active travel to school and after school activities were among measures being taken to address the problem.
Colnbrook’s Cllr James Walsh, into whose portfolio the issue falls as Commissioner for Health and Wellbeing for Slough, has spoken out against the prevalence of fast food outlets in the village in recent months.