One in four year six pupils overwieght or obese

A QUARTER of North Somerset children aged 10-11 are overweight or obese.

A QUARTER of North Somerset children aged 10-11 are overweight or obese.

Figures released by North Somerset Primary Care Trust have revealed that more than one in five children aged four to five are also fatter than they should be.

The statistics have been compiled after more than 3,000 school children were weighed during the 2006/07 academic year.

The mass weigh-in was part of a study to help come up with ways of tackling the growing problem of overweight kids.

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This is the first time year six pupils have been weighed.

The trust decided it was necessary because it is concerned children in that age group are living unhealthy lifestyles.

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Out of 1,394 year six pupils, around 192 (13.8 per cent) were classed as obese and 177 (12.7 per cent) were overweight.

Around one in seven (14.2 per cent) reception children were found to be overweight and one in 12 (8.4 per cent) as obese.

A total of 1,720 four and five-year-olds took part in the study, which involved pupils being weighed by their school's nurse.

Director of public health for North Somerset, Dr Max Cammerling, said: "To reduce this problem we are offering schools advice on how to encourage children to eat healthier and take up such activities as after-school sports.

"Advice on how to make healthy food more attractive and making sure kids know the benefit of it is also important.

"We are also working on getting more sports and play equipment for schools."

The trust has also developed a service, which offers information about physical activity and school travel.

Children aged seven to 13 also have the opportunity to get fitter with a scheme being run this school term at Wyvern Community School in Marchfields Way, Weston.

MEND (which stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition... Do it!) is running twice-weekly sessions to encourage children and their families to change their eating habits.

Games and activities such as cheerleading and martial arts will help them to become fitter.

To register for the free programme call the MEND central office on 020 7231 7225.

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