Childhood Obesity – More needs to be done

New figures out today show there is no room for complacency in the issue of childhood obesity.  ISD today published the annual Primary 1 Body Mass Index Statistics in Scotland.[1]

When epidemiological thresholds in the BMI distribution were used to classify children’s weight, 77.1% of Primary 1 children in Scotland were classified as healthy weight in school year 2014/15. This is a small increase from 2013/14 figure of 76.4% but small decrease from year before (2012/13 figure of 77.5%).

The percentage of primary 1 children at risk of overweight and obesity has been fluctuating between 21 and 23% over the last 10 years. In 2014/15 the figure was 21.8%.

We cannot be complacent about this. We have not seen significant reductions. BMI distribution among primary 1 children in Scotland has remained broadly similar over the last 10 years.

Obese children are more likely to be ill, be absent from school due to illness, experience health-related limitations and require more medical care than normal weight children.[2] Overweight and obese children are also more likely to become obese adults, and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood.[3]

We must take urgent action to address this so that we start to see significant reductions in the number of children affected.

“We cannot be complacent.  Childhood obesity is a ticking timebomb which puts children at risk of future health issues such as type 2 diabetes.  1 in 5 children in Scotland are at risk of suffering health challenges now and in their future all because of their weight.” said Lorraine Tulloch of Obesity Action Scotland “We need to do much more to reduce childhood obesity and overweight and we must urgently improve the diet of Scottish children.”


[2] Wijga A, Scholtens S, Bemelmans W, de Jongste J, Kerkhof M, Schipper M, et al. Comorbidities of obesity in school children: a cross-sectional study in the PIAMA birth cohort. BMC Public Health 2010;10(1):184.