NEARLY one in five 11-year-olds in Wigan borough is obese according to the latest government figures.
Despite Wigan borough seeing a decrease in obesity levels of year six pupils for the first time, figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that 19 per cent of 11 to 12-year-olds are technically obese and 12.9 per cent are overweight.
The figures also reveal that 8.5 per cent of youngsters in reception (four and five-year-olds) are obese and 13.1 per cent are overweight.
However, Wigan is behind the Greater Manchester average for obesity (19.6 per cent of year six and 9.6 per cent reception) and has one of the lowest rates in the region.
Wigan’s director of public health, Dr Kate Ardern said that while more work needs to be done, the figures are going in the right direction thanks to various pathways and schemes being implemented across the borough.
Dr Ardern said: “This data is very encouraging as it shows we have maintained the improvements made the previous year and that Wigan Borough compares well with the national picture. Particularly pleasing is the significant increase in children in Year 6 that are a healthy weight, and the subsequent 3.8 per cent fall in overweight and obesity since last year.
“The information suggests that the important work being done to educate and prevent obesity from occurring is having an impact, while diet and exercise programmes to reduce weight are complementing this.
“The challenge of maintaining a healthy weight is something many families struggle with. As a result Wigan Council has commissioned a new integrated service that includes a multi-component programme. It aims to educate, prevent and address all issues relating to diet, nutrition, and physical activity.
“The programme provides support to children, young people and families to achieve behavioural changes that will enable them to lead a healthy life. It covers the age range from birth to 17 years. The Let’s Get Movin’ programme is delivered by Wigan Leisure Culture Trust’s Active Living team on behalf of the council.
“The council is committed to giving every child in the borough the best start in life and to support families to lead healthy lifestyles. The service works across the age ranges and delivers to families, children and young people in a range of settings including children’s centres, primary and secondary schools, community and leisure venues.”
The Healthy Weight service, locally known as Let’s Get Movin’, is a series of interventions that aim to educate children, young people and their families about the importance of how a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity contribute to leading and sustaining a healthy life. Anyone wanting to find out more about this service can call 01942 828812 or visit www.getactivewiganandleigh.co.uk