Richmond childhood obesity rates lowest in London for 13th year

By Mindy Burrows
January 15, 2020, 18.00

Childhood obesity rates in Richmond continued to be the lowest in London in 2019.

Data published by the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) on obesity rates among Year 6 (ages 10 to 11) children showed Richmond falls 12% below the capital’s average.

According to the study, which also covered children in Reception (ages 4 to 5), the average obesity prevalence in Year 6 children in London was 23.12% in the 2018-19 period.

The average for the same category in Richmond was 11.2%.

For Reception children the city’s average was 10.2% while Richmond’s average was 6.1%.

This figure was significantly lower than all other London boroughs, the highest of which was Barking and Dagenham with a 29.5% obesity prevalence. 

Richmond also has lower rates of childhood obesity than the national average which was 9.7% for Reception children and 20.2% for Year 6 Children last year.

Many schools in the borough participate in the Healthy Schools Award which encourages students to exercise and be aware of what they eat.

Alison Bateman, headmistress at Richmond’s Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School, said: “The children at Holy Trinity are taught about balanced diets and healthy lifestyles as part of the curriculum.

“The kitchen menus are monitored so that healthy options are available alongside the choice of fruit and salad daily and active playtimes are encouraged.”

Holy Trinity Year 6 student Walt Durham, 10, explained how he felt encouraged to be healthy by his school.

He said: “They give you guidelines on what to eat.

“They encourage you to join sports clubs and in PE we change over the sport all the time.” 

Another pupil Jonah Neal, 10, said: “All children go to school so if you’re having a healthy lunch, you’re more likely to eat healthy in other places as well.

“Because if you don’t eat healthy at school then that’s technically most of the food you have each day so you’re not going to be very healthy.”

Obesity among children in Year 6 has fallen by almost 1% in Richmond since the previous year’s study.

Walt pointed out the benefit of Richmond having lots of green spaces.

He said: “Having a dog motivates me to exercise a lot more as I take her out for walks with my parents on weekends.

“She needs the exercise and we get the exercise too so it’s a lot easier to remember.”

The students agreed living in an area where people are active encourages her to follow this lifestyle.

However the prevalence of obese Reception children in Kingston was even lower, at 5.8%.

Richmond has had the lowest childhood obesity rates in London since the NCMP started its annual studies in 2006.

The average for all boroughs in south west London was also lower than the national average in both age groups with an average of 19.4% for Year 6 children and 7.9% for Reception children.

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