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Nearly one in every four reception-aged children in Medway "overweight or obese"

By Dean Kilpatrick, local democracy reporter

Nearly one in every four reception-aged children in Medway are "overweight or obese", according to new statistics.

Medway Council’s latest performance monitoring report shows 23.4% of those aged four and five had “excess weight” in 2017/18, compared to 22.6% in 2016/17.

The document reads: “It should be noted that this change is not statistically significant and Medway is in line with the national average.”

But both the short-term and long-term trends suggest the figure is only getting bigger, with Cllr Mark Joy (Con) voicing concern at last night’s children and young people overview and scrutiny committee meeting.

In response, director of people Ian Sutherland said: “When I mentioned this to director of public health James Williams, he said it does need to be seen against the positive outcome for excessive weight in 10 and 11-year-olds.

An obese child. Stock image (5833943)
An obese child. Stock image (5833943)

“We’re seeing that actually that’s an improving picture, so we’re trying to ensure what we’re doing with those younger children replicates the success we’ve been having with the 10 and 11-year-olds.”

Excessive weight in year six pupils stood at 34% in 2017/18 – a 1.5% decrease compared to the year before.

"It doesn't matter what you do in schools if parents put that all to waste at half term and weekends" - Cllr Barry Kemp

But despite Mr Sutherland’s comments, the report stated the difference is also “not statistically significant.”

Cllr Barry Kemp (Con) added: “Obesity in school children really is the responsibility of parents – not necessarily the schools.

"It doesn’t matter what you do in schools if parents put that all to waste at half term and weekends.”

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