One in 10 young children in Lancashire are ‘obese’

Survey: LCC says it runs schemes with schools to encourage children away from bad eating habits (Picture posed by models)
Survey: LCC says it runs schemes with schools to encourage children away from bad eating habits (Picture posed by models)
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A children’s health watchdog has revealed that around one in 10 children aged four to five in Lancashire are obese.

Figures released by the National’s Children’s Bureau show that 1,322 under Lancashire County Council’s remit, including youngsters across Preston, Chorley, South Ribble, the Ribble Valley, Pendle, the Lancaster district, West Lancashire, the Fylde, the Wyre, Hyndburn, Rossendale and Burnley, are obese.

We run a number of schemes to improve oral health and encourage children and their families to eat healthily in partnership with schools, children’s centres and other organisations

Lancashire are ranked 74th in the table of deprivation that assessed the 150 local authorities across England, More than 30 per cent of children in Lancashire aged five have tooth decay, 1,298 children were admitted to hospital due to injury in 2014 and the number of children achieving a good level of development by the end of reception was 63.3 per cent.

A spokesman for LCC said they are trying to improve the services to children and that changes are in the pipeline. Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council’s director of public health, said: “We are working with other agencies to improve the health of children under five across Lancashire.

“We run a number of schemes to improve oral health and encourage children and their families to eat healthily in partnership with schools, children’s centres and other organisations.

“We are currently looking at how services for children under five can focus on more specific issues that have the biggest impact on children’s health. We will shortly begin the tendering process inviting organisations to bid for contracts to run services.

“We’re also continuing our work to narrow the gaps in health between poorer and more affluent communities.”

And the national assessment shows that these figures vary dramatically across the North West.

Only 164 children aged under four were admitted to hospital due to injury in 2014 in Blackpool and 288 were admitted in Blackburn and Darwen.

Blackburn with Darwen was rated as 14th in the table of deprivation and Blackpool was 15th.

Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau said: “It is shocking that two children growing up in neighbouring areas can expect such a wildly different quality of health.

“As these variations are closely linked to poverty, with those in areas with the highest levels of deprivation more likely to suffer from a range of health issues, we have to ask whether England is becoming a nation of two halves?

“Work is urgently needed to understand how local health services can lessen the impact of living in a deprived area.

But Cheryll Adams, chief executive of the Institute of Health Visitors said that poverty is not always associated with poor health.

She said: “Trends in inequalities in health can be complex as this report suggests, with poverty not always being associated with poor health outcomes. Health services must continue to be commissioned to intervene early, in pregnancy and the very early years, as this can have the greatest impact on improving health.”