Barking and Dagenham has UK’s highest rates of reception-age obesity

Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Images

Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Images - Credit: PA WIRE

Barking and Dagenham has the highest obesity rate in the country among reception-age children.

According to the Poor Beginnings report, published on Monday by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), 14.2 per cent of the borough’s four to five-year-olds are considered obese.

East London boroughs made up half of the 10 worst in the country with Hackney, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets and Newham all listed with rates of 12.3pc or above.

Richmond-upon-Thames, just 18 miles away, has the lowest rates, just 5.5pc.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, London regional director for Public Health England, said: “Levels of childhood obesity in London, including in Barking and Dagenham, are unacceptably high and will have serious consequences for later life if not tackled now.”

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The study looks at the health of children under five across England, considering measures such as tooth decay, injury and their relationship with deprivation.

Lifestyle coach Olwaseun Oke, 37, runs weekly fitness sessions across the borough and believes a lack of education among parents and poor diets are to blame.

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“Obesity will be first solved by nutrition,” she said.

“We need to educate parents on appropriate nutrition and engage them in activities with their children in doing something active.”

Cllr Maureen Worby, cabinet member for adult social care and health said: “We recognise that overcoming obesity rates is a big challenge for the borough – the Health and Wellbeing Board partners and their services have been working hard on this.

“We need everyone to get on board to make a real change.

“The Barking and Dagenham Post is doing a great job, running its Get Active campaign, and we’d love to see that continue as part of a community effort to make changes for ourselves, our families and our communities.”

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