Page last updated at 10:17 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 11:17 UK

Obesity risk 'linked to poverty'

Junk food generic shot
Junk food is a cause of rising obesity rates

Children living in deprived areas of London are at greater risk of obesity, researchers have suggested.

Analysis of primary care trusts also found that the proportion of such children at risk of obesity was higher than the rest of England.

The London Health Observatory report said 11% of children aged 4-5, and 22% aged 10-11, faced an obesity risk.

Data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), from 2006-08, was used for the LHO report.

The NCMP is designed to measure the height and weight of all reception (age 4-5) and year six schoolchildren (age 10-11).

Child obesity risk (age 4-5)
Southwark 14.4%
Newham 14%
City & Hackney 14%
Tower Hamlets 13.7%
Barking and Dagenham 13.5%

The report found that the risk of obesity for reception year children ranged from 6% to 14% across London's boroughs, while for year six pupils it ranged from 12% to 26%.

For reception age children, the 14% highest proportion was found in Southwark, Newham as well as City and Hackney.

In the year six category, the top figure of 26% was found in Southwark.

It also found that boys were at greater risk than girls in both year group categories.

Children from black ethnic minority groups in both years were at a significantly higher risk of obesity than those in other ethnic groups, it has been shown.

Child obesity risk (age 10-11)
Southwark 26%
Newham 25.6%
Lewisham 25.3%
Westminster 24.8%
Tower Hamlets 24.5%

LHO Director Dr Bobbie Jacobson said: "The figures reveal that the proportion of children in London at risk of obesity is significantly higher than for England.

"This is seen most starkly in the higher proportion of children at risk of obesity who live in more deprived areas, and those from predominantly black ethnic groups."

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