New stats on deprivation and child obesity

New data released by the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) – a coalition of different health-related groups such as charities, pressure groups and academic bodies – sheds further light on health related obesity inequalities (previously featured on this resource here). Based on existing trends, the OHA models likely obesity rates by 2020 and reveals a stark weight gap between boys attending primary school in the most and least deprived areas of England. 60% of boys aged 5-11 at school in the most deprived quintile (IMD 2015) are predicted to be obese or overweight by 2020 while for boys in the least deprived quintile the figure stands at just 16%, the result of a continued widening of the health gap.

The data was released on October 11 – World Obesity Day – and the OHA are clearly using this to maintain pressure on the govt to implement a ‘sugar tax’ in the form of the ‘soft drinks industry levy‘. As the press release (detailing the research) states:

“Sugary drink consumption levels tend to be highest among the most disadvantaged children who are hit hardest by obesity and tooth decay. The health gains from the soft drinks industry levy will be biggest for our most deprived children.”

This is a good example of how lobby and pressure groups can use research conducted with the IMD to publicise inequalities and, for example, call for regulatory changes. Interestingly, the OHA suggests no such gap among girls, who do not show the same trend or inequality. 5-11 year old girls from more and less deprived quintiles are projected to have similar obese and overweight rates by 2020 at around 20%.

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