Wigan youngsters facing obesity crisis

Obesity crisis
Obesity crisis

Children living in certain areas of Wigan could be twice as likely be obese when they leave primary school than others, shocking figures reveal.

Data released by Public Health England has highlighted the areas of Wigan where reception and Year Six children are most likely to be clinically obese.

The figures show a monumental gap between wards, with some areas almost doubling others when it comes to childhood weight problems.

From 2014/15 to 2015/16, 25.2 per cent of 10 and 11 year olds living in Douglas ward were classed as obese but in comparison, there were only 12.6 per cent children in Wigan Central of the same age group with a BMI higher than 30.

There was also a startling gap between reception children, with 8.1 per cent of Orrell school starters rated as obese but figures as high as 13.8 and 13.9 per cent in Pemberton and Leigh East respectively.

Alarmingly, almost half of the Wigan and Leigh wards (12 out of 25) had more than 20 per cent of children leaving school obese.

Children at reception age were less likely to be excessively overweight, but 15 wards still presented with a tenth of its four and five-year-olds being measured as obese, including Standish with Langtree, Ashton, Atherleigh, Golborne and Lowton West and Wigan West.

Both Orrell and Winstanley were in the five wards who had the lowest prevalence of child obesity in both age categories.

Less than nine per cent (8.9) of Winstanley reception children were diagnosed as obese in 2013/14 to 2015/16 and 14.6 per cent of the high school leavers were obese according to the most recent figures.

Professor Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “Obesity is extremely complex, especially among children and rates can fluctuate for a number of reasons. We are committed to providing a solution to these challenges by working directly with schools, health partners and the community to provide advice and education opportunities.

“We’re also committed to ensuring children continue with their healthy lifestyles during the summer holidays, which is why we kick-started the ‘Fit and Fed’ programme, which sees physical activities available throughout the year for the borough’s young people.”

Percentage of reception children who are obese by ward:

Orrell 8.1

Aspull New Springs Whelley 8.4

Winstanley 8.9

Atherton 9.0

Tyldesley 9.2

Leigh South 9.3

Shevington with Lower Ground 9.4

Bryn 9.6

Lowton East 9.6

Standish with Langtree 10.0

Wigan Central 10.0

Hindley Green 10.3

Hindley 10.6

Golborne and Lowton West 11.0

Ashton 11.0

Atherleigh 11.3

Ince 11.8

Abram 11.8

Worsley Mesnes 12.1

Astley Mosley Common 12.1

Douglas 12.7

Leigh West 12.8

Wigan West 13.1

Pemberton 13.8

Leigh East 13.9

Percentage of obese Year Six children by ward:

Wigan Central 12.6

Winstanley 14.6

Lowton East 16.9

Shevington with Lower Ground 17.0

Orrell 17.8

Abram 18.5

Standish with Langtree 18.7

Aspull New Springs Whelley 18.9

Leigh South 19.1

Wigan West 19.4

Bryn 19.7

Leigh East 19.8

Astley Mosley Common 19.9

Ashton 20.1

Tyldesley 20.3

Golborne and Lowton West 21.3

Hindley 21.8

Atherleigh 22.3

Atherton 22.6

Leigh West 22.7

Pemberton 22.9

Ince 22.9

Hindley Green 23.5

Worsley Mesnes 23.7

Douglas 25.2