Official figures reveal that England’s childhood obesity rate has risen to alarming levels since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

One in seven children are now obese when they begin primary school, compared with one in 10 prior to Covid. 

When they reach Year 6, their proportion of obese children is one in four. This compares with one in five for 2019. 

NHS Digital data shows that obese children are twice as likely in the most deprived areas than those who live in the richest.  

Campaign groups warned that school closings and lockdowns were threatening the physical and mental health of children and increasing health disparities.

Over 2.5 million children are overweight and obese in England, with research suggesting that this is the most fat generation to date. 

This comes as an English head of NHS warns that the “sharp light” has been cast on the obesity epidemic among young people.

She announced last night that thousands of severely overweight children will be sent to NHS ‘fat camps’ under a new pilot scheme aimed at cracking down on the crisis.

The drastic measure will see 15 specialist clinics treat severely overweight children aged between two and 18. 

Childhood obesity rates in England have soared to record levels during the pandemic. One in seven are obese by the time they start primary school now compared to one in 10 before Covid. By the time they get to Year 6, the proportion who are too fat rises to one in four

England’s childhood obesity rate has reached record highs since the outbreak of the pandemic. One in seven students are overweight by the time they begin primary school. This is a far greater number than one in ten before Covid. One in four of them are obese by the end of Year 6.

The figures today show that 14.4% of children in Reception were overweight during 2020/21.

This was an increase of 9.9% in 2019/20, which is the largest rise in records since 2006/7.

A fifth of people in England who live in poverty are overweight, while only 8 percent of those in less deprived areas are. 

A growing number of 4/5 year-olds and 5/5-year-olds have a morbidly obese status, which can lead to serious health complications, such as heart attacks and strokes.

Nearly one in 20 (4.7 per cent) are severely overweight now compared to 2.5 per cent pre-Covid.   

In Year 6, the obesity prevalence rose from 21 percent in 2019/20 to 25.5% in 2020/21. 

One-third of the 10-11-year-olds in England’s poorest regions were obese, compared with 14.3% in those in more affluent areas.

Some 6.3 per cent of those in their last year of primary school were morbidly obese during the most recent school year compared to 4.7 per cent before the pandemic.

After receiving a letter stating that her 5-year-old daughter was overweight, despite only weighing three stone, a mother slams the NHS 

Following receiving a letter describing her 5-year-old daughter as obese, a mother vented at health executives.

Jemma Fletcher (37), was sent a note from Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, after Lily’s tests revealed that she had a higher than average weight.

Visiting nurses had measured the little girl and weighed her at school.

Sheffield South Yorkshire woman Mrs Fletcher stated that Lily was overweight. This is just shocking and upsetting.

She’s small, there’s no weight on her. My family all said, “Don’t be worried about it. It’s only a letter. We all know that she’s not obese.”

I know that she’s not obese, but it could be a good idea to put your child on diet if you are a struggling parent.

You have plenty to worry about, mum.

“What if you were someone without that support, and had worries and anxiety about your children?” They could easily have been pushed over the edge by this letter.

“It is hard enough as it is, there are enough expectations on you to appear a certain way. It could give children a lot of trouble at young ages.

These tests were performed by the NHS at schools across October in part of a National Child Measurement Programme, (NCMP).

According to The Obesity Alliance, there are’several elements of the pandemic that contributed to this rise.

Children were also subject to the initial strict stay-at-home order by the government. They were allowed out only once per day for exercise.

Many others were forced to stay at home even though lockdowns ended due to school isolating procedures.

Experts predict that children will seek comfort food in order to combat boredom, anxiety and isolation.

Caroline Cerny from the Obesity Healthcare Alliance stated: “These new data highlight the need to drive a relentless effort on improving the health of children’s.” 

“In particular, it is important to focus our efforts on closing the disparity between the least and most deprived in order for every child to have an equal opportunity to succeed.

“Childhood obesity rates in most deprived areas are twice as high than in those in the best, which highlights the importance of addressing this issue to reduce health inequalities.

“There are many aspects to the pandemic likely to have contributed this rise in child obesity.”

Max Davie (Officer for Health Improvement at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) stated: “This alarming increase in childhood obesity is concerning.

“While we can see that lockdown was a crucial factor in this year’s success, it is important to not assume that these results were an anomaly. There may also be mental health problems which may need time to resolve. 

“Poverty must be our primary concern. We see the difference between those who have the least and the most deprived kids widen every year. 

“Obesity has become a major cause of poverty in the UK. All efforts to combat this need to focus on the vulnerable groups as well as the reasons for it.

Both sexes had higher obesity rates than the girls. 

In between 2020/21 & 2019/20, there was a drop in the percentage of children with a healthy weight.

A mere 58 percent of Year 6 students were considered healthy, which is a decrease from the previous year’s 63%.

Seven in ten reception kids were classified as healthy, compared to 76% the previous year.

In Year 6, the proportion of children that were overweight or obese in their first year was 28%, and 41% in Year 6.

Jemma Fletcher, 37, received the letter from Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust after her little girl Lily was weighed at school by visiting nurses

Jemma Fletcher (37) received the letter form Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The letter was sent after Lily’s weight at school.

Lily's mother Jemma Fletcher, 37, said: 'There's nothing on her, she's tiny. My family were all like, "don't worry about it, it's just a letter, we all know she's not overweight."'

Jemma Fletcher (37), Lily’s mom, stated that there was nothing about her daughter, as she is small. My family was all in agreement that it was a simple letter and she isn’t overweight.

Around 1,000 kids who are in the most obese category each year will be treated at one of fifteen new fat camps across England.

The radical pilot scheme has been allocated annual funding of £6 million – around £6,000 per child.

The therapy offered to the youngster will help them pinpoint their cause and they can also meet with psychologists, paediatricians, and dietitians in group sessions. 

NHS chiefs believe the new clinics will help save money long-term by preventing costly, long-term problems in patients’ health that could lead to more expensive and invasive procedures.

Obesity-related illnesses already cost the NHS a staggering £6 billion a year.

According to health officials, the epidemic has made matters worse with the thousands of children who gained weight from being locked up at home.

These have been established all over England at Southampton University Hospitals, Manchester Children’s Hospitals, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Great Ormond Street Hospitals in London, and Manchester Children’s Hospitals.

These 15 services will be based upon an existing Bristol Royal Hospital for Children clinic that has helped thousands of South-West children since its inception in 2018.

Boris Johnson created the government’s anti-obesity campaign last year. After a severe bout with Covid, Johnson is believed to be passionate about this issue.

To reduce childhood obesity, government has launched a fresh crackdown on junk food marketing. Advertisements for high-fat, sugary and salty foods and confectionery companies will be prohibited online and at television from 5.30am to 9pm.