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Health: Obesity

Volume 715: debated on Monday 23 November 2009


My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Gillian Merron) has made the following Written Statement.

On 19 November 2009, the NHS Information Centre issued the following errata statement.

As a result of a detailed validation carried out during the production of the Health Survey for England (HSE) 2008, the following error has been identified in the Health Survey for England series. The error pertains to childhood obesity data for the years 1995 to 2007 inclusive and will affect all publications during these years.

Between 1995 and 2007 there was an error which meant that small numbers of children who should have been classified as either overweight or obese were omitted from these categories because of rounding of age and body mass index (BMI) thresholds. The revised percentages of those who were overweight in each year differ by 0.1-0.8 percentage points and for those who were obese in each year they differ by 0.1-1.1 percentage points from those originally published, and 0.3 per cent-1.2 per cent of children in each year were misclassified. In no cases were results significantly different from those presented previously.

An updated version of the following latest trend table for 1995 to 2007 has therefore been published: Children Table 4, Children's overweight and obesity prevalence, by survey year, age group and sex.

This table gives revised figures from the trend tables for 1995 to 2007, as included both in the main reports and separate trend table publications.

References to these figures within the publications have not been corrected, as the changes are small and will be corrected in the next HSE report which is expected to be published in December 2009. Figures within the reports, referring to the children’s categories of overweight or obese may be slightly different, but none is significantly different. All figures in the Health Survey for England 2008 (expected to be published on 17 December 2009), main report and trend tables will be calculated using the correct methodology and the time series data for 1995 to 2007 will all be updated using the correct methodology.

While the data error is unfortunate, we are confident that the data on childhood obesity have been updated and will be reported accurately in future. Our predictions for childhood obesity remain the same.

A copy of the table has been placed in the Library.