‘Worrying’ rise in child obesity in Lanarkshire

Margaret Mitchell MSP
Margaret Mitchell MSP

A Tory MSP has expressed concern about the rising problem of child obesity in Lanarkshire.

Figures released this week show that 21.8 per cent of local primary 1 schoolchildren are at risk of being either overweight or obese.

This figure has been increasing over the last decade, with 2017/18 seeing the most children at risk of obesity in nearly 15 years.

The figures also show that the number of children considered to be overweight, obese or severely obese to be at its highest rate since 2005.

Within the NHS Lanarkshire health board, 15.1 per cent of P1 children were recognised to be overweight, obese, or severely obese; almost three per cent higher than 2008/09.

The figures demonstrate that more than one in three P1 children is either at risk of being overweight or is already overweight.

The statistics are derived from height and weight measurements recorded at routine health reviews or selective medicals for children in P1 for NHS Boards in Scotland which participate in the Child Health Systems Programme School system (CHSP School).

Central Scotland MSP Margaret Mitchell said: “There is a worrying upward trend of young children who are either overweight or obese, or at risk of becoming so.

“With more than 20 per cent of children at risk of being overweight, coupled with a further 15 per cent who are already overweight, it’s very clear that more needs to be done to promote healthy living in young people.

“To address this, the Scottish Conservatives support greater restrictions on the sale of low-nutrition foods and to promote healthy living.

“These startling figures suggest that individuals also need to take greater responsibility in the diet and lifestyle of young people.

“Obesity and weight problems in children can lead to more serious physical and mental health problems in later life.

“P1 at school is a crucial stage in any child’s development, so it is vital that they understand that a healthy lifestyle is promoted at an early age.”