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Obesity figures on black and Asian children 'being buried'

AT RISK: Health chiefs have been accused of 'burying' figures on the high rate of obesity among black children

BLACK AND Asian children are being put at risk because health chiefs are “burying” statistics that reveal the rate of obesity among ethnic minorities, it has been reported.

The health of tens of thousands of black and Asian children is being put at risk by health chiefs, according to an investigation by The Mail on Sunday.

In comparison to their white classmates, around twice the number of black and Asian children are obese by the time they leave primary school.

Public Health England, which admitted being aware of the figures, has taken no specific action to tackle the problem, The Mail on Sunday reported.

Conservative MP Andrew Selous, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Obesity, said it was time for PHE to target the specific ethnic groups with measures to address high rates of childhood obesity.

Figures from the Department for Health’s report reveal that 17.7 per cent of white British children are obese when they leave primary school compared to 29.9 per cent of black Caribbean children and 26.4 per cent of Pakistani children and 28.4 per cent of Bangladeshi children.

Statistics for the year 2016/17 released in August this year revealed that in the four to five age group, black African children were the most likely to be overweight at 31.1%.

OBESITY: Percentage of four to five year olds and 10 to 11 year olds who were overweight by ethnicity in 2016/17 (Chart: Public Health England)

One academic that the Mail on Sunday spoke to suggested that a combination of genetic and environmental factors were to blame for the high rate among black and Asian children.

In June, the government announced a new set of measures to reduce obesity by 2030.

The proposals included the introduction of a new national initiative to have every primary school to adopt a daily “active mile” activity.

At the time of the announcement, Jeremy Hunt, the then secretary of state for health, said: “The cost of obesity – both on individual lives and our NHS – is too great to ignore. Today we are taking steps to ensure that by 2030, children from all backgrounds have the help they need for a healthier, more active start in life.”

Steve Brine, the public health minister, said: “One in three children are now overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Overconsumption, combined with reduced activity, is having a catastrophic effect on our children’s health. As both a parent and minister, I am committed to driving today’s pledge of halving obesity over the next twelve years with bold new action.”

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