Figures show link between poverty and obesity in youngsters

CHILDREN in less well-off areas of York are storing up major health problems for the future as figures show a clear link between poverty and obesity in the city.

The statistics for York appear to confirm comments made last week by junior Health Minister Anna Soubry, who said it was now possible to tell someone’s social background by their weight.

The latest figures show that in less well-off wards, such as Clifton and Hull Road, obesity rates run at 21.3 per cent of 11-year-olds and 7.9 per cent of five-year-olds.

In more affluent wards, such as Rural West York or Bishopthorpe, obesity rates are 13.8 per cent for those aged 11 and 4.7 per cent for five-year-olds.

Tackling health inequality is one of the five main strategies which the York Health and Wellbeing Board has committed itself to when it comes into existence this spring, taking over responsibility for public health in York from the local NHS trust.

The board meets this afternoon in the Guildhall to discuss its draft strategy for the next three years.

Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, its chairwoman, said: “It is very clear that childhood obesity, and adult obesity, are linked to socio-economic deprivation, of which poverty is a major contributor.

“Poverty is a significant driver of longer-term health inequalities because of the range of diseases like heart disease and diabetes that are caused by obesity. It is clear that there is a rise in the cost of healthier food, and not in junk food, and this is something the Government should address.

“However, the Government is not helping by relaxing the quality of school meals and they need to realise their part in this.”

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, City of York Council’s director of public health, said the Wellbeing Board’s Children’s and Young People’s Plan gave a commitment to “investing in early help to prevent costly and more intrusive, later interventions”.

He said: “This includes developing programmes of public health to promote exercise and healthy eating.

“Members of York’s Youth Council have been working with secondary schools in the city as food ambassadors to encourage eligible pupils to choose free school meals and to ensure tasty and healthy school meals attract more pupils.

“All 64 of York’s schools are engaged in the Healthy School Programme which focuses on key areas including health education, healthy eating, physical activity and emotional health and wellbeing – on which obesity can impact.

“Enhanced working in this field includes looking at healthy packed lunches and working with parents on healthier eating.

“The council is also working with local sports clubs to support applications for grants to target increased activity among 14- to 25-year-olds, while developing a new community stadium and supporting the University of York’s sports village to promote sport for all.”

Comments (5)

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2:17pm Wed 30 Jan 13

alfie says...

I grew up very poor but my mother still managed to provide us with home made nutritious food and we had treats such as chocolate etc very rarely, needless to say non of us were fat and not fat as adults. I think parents cannot be bothered to cook or plan its easier for them to buy a load of fast food just to fill em up with then they can get back to internet surfing. I know its not all but I would say the majority of "poor" parents are too lazy to get a job never mind look after there kids.
I grew up very poor but my mother still managed to provide us with home made nutritious food and we had treats such as chocolate etc very rarely, needless to say non of us were fat and not fat as adults. I think parents cannot be bothered to cook or plan its easier for them to buy a load of fast food just to fill em up with then they can get back to internet surfing. I know its not all but I would say the majority of "poor" parents are too lazy to get a job never mind look after there kids. alfie

2:17pm Wed 30 Jan 13

MilkandTwo says...

Give kids sport, which they like, not lentils, which they don't.

Save the money on health nagging and use it on sports teachers

Then they can eat as many chips as they like and burn it off
Give kids sport, which they like, not lentils, which they don't. Save the money on health nagging and use it on sports teachers Then they can eat as many chips as they like and burn it off MilkandTwo

9:02pm Wed 30 Jan 13

PinzaC55 says...

We used to live in a hole in t't ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin. But we were happy.
We used to live in a hole in t't ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin. But we were happy. PinzaC55

1:32pm Thu 31 Jan 13

MilkandTwo says...

Ole in t'ground? Luxury!
Ole in t'ground? Luxury! MilkandTwo

2:13pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Jackanory2 says...

Agree with Milk and Two, we are forever being told by people on TV that we need to do exercise etc.. to burn off calories yet most Primary Schools don't do any (or hardly any) sports, I was shocked when I was talking to kids and they said that they weren't allowed to bring a tennis ball in to school to play football at break times, don't what we would have done without that when I was young (got fat and vandalised probably).
Agree with Milk and Two, we are forever being told by people on TV that we need to do exercise etc.. to burn off calories yet most Primary Schools don't do any (or hardly any) sports, I was shocked when I was talking to kids and they said that they weren't allowed to bring a tennis ball in to school to play football at break times, don't what we would have done without that when I was young (got fat and vandalised probably). Jackanory2

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