Obesity in children may be ‘levelling off' according to a report published today by the National Heart Forum, giving healthy school meals campaigners a spark of hope.
New data analysis found that the rate of increase in obesity levels across the country may be in decline, following a relentless rise since the mid 1970s.
The new 2020 forecasts suggest that the proportion of obese boys aged between two and 11 will fall from 20% to 13%, while the predicted proportion of obese girls aged between two and 11 will drop from 14% to 10%.
The forecasts for young people aged 12 to 19 are even more positive with the predicted proportion of obese boys expected to fall dramatically from 19% to 6%, and girls from 30% to 9%.
The Minister for Public Health, Gillian Merron, said obesity was one of the biggest health challenges we face.
"The encouraging news that child obesity may be levelling off is thanks to the hard work of families, schools and the NHS across England, supported by Government initiatives," she said.
"But obesity levels are still too high and we need to keep the momentum going."
Dr Michael Nelson, director of nutrition and research for the School Food Trust, added: "School food has an important part to play in educating children about healthy eating and in providing the nutrition they need to learn and grow, and our research tells us we have cause to be optimistic about the future."
By Janie Stamford
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