Childhood obesity at five year high in Doncaster

editorial image

More than one in three year six school children in Doncaster are obese, new figures have revealed.

The statistics – submitted in a report to Doncaster Council’s health and wellbeing board – also show that nearly three quarters of the town’s adults are overweight.

14 Jan 2015......... Dr Dean Eggitt at his surgery in Doncaster for feature on pressures faced by GPs. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1006/62d

14 Jan 2015......... Dr Dean Eggitt at his surgery in Doncaster for feature on pressures faced by GPs. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1006/62d

A worrying 34.1 per cent of 10 and 11-year-olds are classed as obese. This means the number of overweight year six children in the borough is at a five-year high, placing Doncaster 0.5 per cent above the national average.

Dr Dean Eggitt, a GP at Oakwood Surgery in Cantley, spoke of his ‘disbelief’ at the ‘worrying’ stats.

He said: “Childhood obesity is dangerous because it can be a precursor to a lot of chronic conditions.

“The fact that 34 per cent of children that age are overweight is quite staggering, especially because Doncaster has a great group called More Life that is brilliant at helping children and families realise what they should be eating. Avoiding obesity isn’t rocket science – it’s about eating healthily, portion size and getting plenty of exercise.

“The public health team in Doncaster have been doing a lot to raise awareness.

“While some of the responsibility should fall on them, I think the biggest chunk needs to be on parents - they need to be teaching their children about the right things to eat.”

Jacqui Wiltschinsky, assistant director of Public Health, said: “We are very concerned with these figures, and it is clear that improving the health of Doncaster’s children is a significant challenge, as it is across the UK.

“We work hard with other partners to encourage healthy food choices and exercise for young people and families, but it is clear there is more work to be done.”

The figures released in the report also revealed that 74.4 per cent of adults in Doncaster are classed as being overweight, as are 22.1 per cent of children aged four and five.

Star readers shared their views on whether health chiefs in Doncaster should be doing more to tackle childhood obesity – or if most of the responsibility should fall to parents.

Commenting via social media, Lee Buckle said: “Parents’ responsibility I’m afraid. Why should the taxpayer burden the cost of lazy parenting?”

Christina Garrett said: “Bring back the sports pass where kids could go swimming for free instead of playing on phones and tablets.”

Slimming World consultant Christine Cheetham said she has seen more young people join the dieting group recently.

She said: “Slimming World helps around 21,000 young people aged 11-15 each year, with 6,000 being in group at any one time.

“Our groups are very friendly, motivating and supportive. Young children will find that their confidence and self esteem will grow while attending group.”