Public Health England analysed child poverty by deprivation by comparing the Indices of Multiple Deprivation with data from the (slightly ominous sounding) ‘National Child Measurement Programme’. They argued there was a strong, “almost linear relationship” between child obesity and the decile of deprivation for the area they live in. This finding was replicated in links between obesity and the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index as well as Household income data.
The findings suggest the association with deprivation is significant even at the early ages of reception, where children are 4 or 5 years old. PHE found that child obesity in the most deprived areas was about twice the rate in the least deprived areas.
Findings like this tend to support the characterisation of deprived areas as having poor access to healthy fresh food and large numbers of fast food takeaway outlets. A 2005 study of McDonalds restaurant locations in Scotland and England argued there were “statistically significant positive associations” between local deprivation and the average number of McDonalds per 1000 people in both countries, which the authors stated “may provide support for environmental explanations for the higher prevalence of obesity in poor neighborhoods.”