New data reveals that more than a quarter of children in their last year of primary school in Wolverhampton are obese.

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According to Public Health England, 26.3 percent of Year 6 pupils in the city are obese, compared to 19.1 percent nationally - putting themselves at risk of a host of medical complications, from heart disease to cancer or type 2 diabetes.

The proportion of Reception age pupils in Wolverhampton who are obese is also higher in Wolverhampton - with 12.7 percent of children locally classed as obese, compared to 9.5 percent  nationally.

The data has been released to support the new Change4Life Sugar Swaps campaign, which encourages parents to cut down the amount of sugar their children consume by making one or more simple swaps.

Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. As well as potentially life threatening illnesses, sugar can also have a devastating impact upon dental health - tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions for children aged 5 to 9 in 2012 to 2013.

Change4Life urges parents and children to make one or more simple Sugar Swaps, tackling different 'sugar occasions' in the day:

  • The Breakfast Swap, swapping sugary cereal for plain cereal, like wholewheat biscuit cereal
  • The Drink Swap, swapping from sugary drinks to sugar free or no added sugar drinks
  • The After School Swap, for example swapping chocolate bars or muffins to fruited teacake
  • The Pudding Swap, for example swapping ice cream to low fat lower sugar yoghurt

Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "Reducing sugar intake is important for the health of our children both now and in the future. We are all eating too much sugar and the impact this is having on people's health in Wolverhampton is sadly all too evident.

"Children who are overweight or obese when they are young are far more likely to become overweight or obese adults and these figures demonstrate the increasing need to address children's diet and limit future health problems.

"The Sugar Swaps campaign is about taking small steps to do this. The family challenge shows that making simple swaps can lead to big changes if they are sustained over time.

"I myself have stopped adding a teaspoon and a half of sugar to my cups of coffee, which means I've reduced my sugar intake by 7 and a half teaspoons a day, and I'd urge children and parents to make simple swaps of their own and reap the health benefits of doing so."

Families can register for a free Sugar Swaps pack, filled with hints, tips and recipe suggestions designed to help parents cut down the sugary foods and drinks consumed by their children, plus money off vouchers, swap cards and stickers. For more information, and to sign up, log on to Type=links;Linkid=3170;Title=NHS Change4Life;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Thursday 15 January, 2015