Childhood obesity levels have doubled in 12 years despite £372m Government ...

A £400million Government initiative to slash childhood obesity levels by 2020 has failed miserably, campaigners say.

The 2008 Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy pledged to reduce the 'number of overweight and obese children in England to levels seen in the year 2000', when 15 per cent of youngsters were deemed overweight.

Ministers brought in compulsory cooking classes in school as part of the pledge, and encouraged healthier food choices and physical exercise.

But official NHS figures show rates of morbid obesity have almost doubled among Year 6 pupils since the scheme was launched.

Fewer than 14,000 10 to 11-year-olds fell under the category when the project began in 2007. The figure rose to 26,158 in 2018/19. 

The 2008 Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy pledged to reduce the 'number of overweight and obese children in England'. But official NHS figures show rates of morbid obesity have almost doubled among Year 6 pupils since the near-£400million scheme was launched

The 2008 Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy pledged to reduce the 'number of overweight and obese children in England'. But official NHS figures show rates of morbid obesity have almost doubled among Year 6 pupils since the near-£400million scheme was launched

And obesity rates among Year 6 pupils rose by two-thirds in that time, jumping from 77,000 to 121,000, according to the NHS' National Child Measurement Programme. 

It means a third of children are overweight by the time they finish primary school.

Tam fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, told MailOnline that officials are 'too chicken' to enforce strict measures to tackle obesity.

He said: 'For some thirty years UK governments have been setting targets to win the fight against obesity but in every case have failed to meet them.

'Wednesday's missed target illustrates the lamentable disinterest of ruling politicians in tackling a disease which is costing the NHS £24billion every year.

CHILDHOOD OBESITY TO CONTINUE TO SPIRAL, DESPITE GOVERNMENT PLEDGES 

Childhood obesity rates in the UK are to continue to spiral over the next five years, a damning report has found.

In its latest forecast, Public Health England predicts the number of obese primary school children could jump by up to four per cent by 2024.

More than 34 per cent of 10 and 11 year olds are currently classified as obese, with the new forecast now between 33.4 per cent and 38.1 per cent.

 It comes despite the Government's ambitious pledge to slash child obesity rates in half by 2030.

Professor John Newton, the PHE's director of health improvement, admitted it was a 'reminder we need to redouble our efforts on childhood obesity'. 

'They huff and puff and know full well the tough measures that must be implemented but are too chicken to legislate for them.

'It is, as if by setting targets, they think the problem will be magicked away. It won't be.

'The latest target set this year, to halve childhood obesity by 2030, will have the same fate if tough action is not begun in 2020.'

Mr Fry said mandatory calorie labelling in restaurants, sugar levies and a ban on energy drinks were some of the tough new rules needed to tackle the spiralling crisis. 

The Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives project was launched in January 2008 by a Labour government that had been in power since 1997.

Responsibility for obesity was shared between Health and Education ministers, and supported by a large ring‐fenced budget over three years. 

In its report, the government said it would 'make available an additional £372million for promoting the achievement and maintenance of healthy weight over the period 2008–11'.

It added: 'This is over and above the £1.3billion investment in school food, sport and play and the £140million further funding for Cycling England, already announced for 2008–11.'

Then-Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Ed Balls, the former Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said at the time: 'Our ambition is to be the first major nation to reverse the rising tide of obesity and overweight in the population by ensuring that everyone is able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. 

'Our initial focus will be on children: by 2020, we aim to reduce the proportion of overweight and obese children to 2000 levels.' 

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in 2003 predicted that 8.5 per cent of children under six were obese in 2000. That number is now 10 per cent. 

NHS figures in October revealed Almost half (44.9 per cent) of all year six children in Barking and Dagenham were considered to be overweight, obese or severely obese in 2018/19. In contrast, the rate was just 23.4 per cent in Richmond upon Thames

NHS figures in October revealed Almost half (44.9 per cent) of all year six children in Barking and Dagenham were considered to be overweight, obese or severely obese in 2018/19. In contrast, the rate was just 23.4 per cent in Richmond upon Thames

WHAT HAS NATION'S CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER DAME SALLY RECOMMENDED FOR CURBING OBESITY?

+ Ban all food and drink except water on urban public transport;

+ Use Brexit to simplify VAT rates on food - apply the tax to unhealthy food, remove it from

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