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Children: Obesity

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress his Department has made towards its target to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity among children under 11 by 2010; and if he will make a statement. (247469)

Data from the Health Survey for England (HSE) form the basis of the PSA indicator for child obesity. The most recent data may be an early indication that obesity prevalence rates in children are levelling out. The 2007 HSE data, which was published in December 2008, estimated that the prevalence of obesity among two to 10-year-olds was around 15 per cent. The exact rate has increased very slightly, to 15.4 per cent., from 15.2 per cent. in 2006. However, this change is not statistically significant and it follows a fall from 16.8 per cent. in 2005. These are encouraging figures but there is no room for complacency and we will continue to monitor closely the trends in England.

The 2004 spending review public service agreement (PSA) target 4, to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity among children under 11 by 2010, has been superseded by a more ambitious target to reduce the proportion of overweight and obese children to 2000 levels by 2020 in the context of tackling obesity across the population. This target is one of the indicators that underpins the 2007 comprehensive spending review PSA to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people.