Babies and children * Young people * Healthy living * Weight loss

1 in 10 children will be obese in the next five years

1 in 10 children will be obese by 2015 Poorer children most at risk

As many as one in ten children in England will be obese within the next five years, new research has found.

A study carried out at University College London looked at trends in obesity in children between the ages of 2 to 10, and young people aged 11 to 18 for the years 1995 to 2007.

The data were obtained from the annual Health Survey for England, which draws on a nationally representative sample of households.

Although a recent study suggested that childhood obesity in the UK was levelling off, this research found this only to be true of children from wealthier families.

Between 1995 and 2007 the number of obese boys aged 2 to 10 more than doubled from 3% to almost 7%, whilst in girls it rose from 5.2% to 7.4%.

If this increasing trend continues, the researchers predicted that 1 in 10 boys aged 2-10 will be obese by 2015, and around 1 in 9 girls.

But in the case of children from less wealthy families, the obesity rates are expected to be higher - 10.7% for boys and 11.2% for girls.

If these children are excluded from the estimates, then the figures drop to 6.7% for boys and 8.3% for girls.

Similar trends were also predicted for older children.

The researchers concluded: "If trends continue as they have been between 1995 and 2007 in 2015 the number and prevalence of obese young people is projected to increase dramatically, and these increases will affect lower social classes to a larger extent."

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

This article was published on Tue 15 December 2009

Image © Ivonne Wierink -

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