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OHA research shows childhood obesity crisis hitting most deprived hardest

Stark new figures from the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), released on World Obesity Day, show a looming significant weight gap between the poorest and wealthiest primary-school aged boys living in England.

Three in five (60%) of the most deprived boys aged 5-11 are predicted to be overweight or obese by 2020, compared to about one in six (16%) of boys in the most affluent group.

The Faculty of Public Health (FPH) is a member of the OHA.

The most deprived girls didn’t however show the same trend, and are projected to have similar obese and overweight prevalence rates to their more affluent counterparts with an average of 1 in 5 girls predicted to be obese or overweight by 2020.

Simon Capewell, FPH Vice President, said: "Obesity – and the life-long conditions such as Type 2 diabetes that go with it – represent the great health challenge of our generation.

"This research is a clarion call to policymakers, lawmakers and society to act now to protect our children – many of whom will otherwise have a life of ill-health and misery and an unnecessarily early death. The government must press on with its plans for a Soft Drinks Industry Levy and that must be the first step in a wider campaign against the promotion of food that is rich in sugar, salt and fat.

"It is now clear that it is the poorest children in our society who will be hit hardest if we fail to act. We should also make it easier for deprived families to choose nutritious food by tackling the root causes of poverty – including low pay."

OHA research press release

Written: 11/10/2016 , last modified: 27/10/2016