MEASURES to tackle worryingly high levels of child obesity in Radcliffe are proving a success, new figures reveal.
Last year it was revealed that almost one in four (24 per cent) 10 and 11-year-olds in the town were classed as obese — compared to 18.9 per cent of Bury as a whole.
The figure rose to nearly one-third (31 per cent) among year six children in the Radcliffe West ward, which had the highest rates of obesity in the borough.
The statistics were published in January last year after being obtained from the National Child Measurement Programme 2011/12.
But a briefing paper on obesity in the town has shown clear improvements are being made.
New figures for 2012/13 show Radcliffe’s obesity levels among Year Sixes average at 18 per cent — lower than the 19.2 per cent national average.
Rates in Radcliffe West have fallen to 18 per cent, but levels in Radcliffe East remain a concern, now the second-highest in Bury at 25 per cent.
Earlier this month the council launched You Only Live Once (YOLO), a 12-month exercise referral pilot scheme open to overweight young people from year six to age 16.
The briefing paper also describes Bury’s draft Healthy Weight Strategy, which has input from multiple agencies including children’s centres, nurseries, schools, healthcare and the voluntary, leisure and private sectors.
Radcliffe West Cllr Rishi Shori, cabinet member for health, said: “While it is concerning that levels of obesity are above the national average in some parts of Radcliffe, a number of initiatives are in place to tackle the problem.
“I think it is important to highlight, however, that if we are to tackle childhood obesity this must be done in partnership with parents.
“Public services cannot do this alone and parents need to work with us and share the responsibility to ensure their children are and remain healthy.”
The briefing paper says: “The School Catering Team continues to develop healthier meals for children to be able to access, and supporting parents in producing healthier lunch boxes.
“Through Public Health and partners, a Breastfeeding Strategy has now been finalised to support parents in making a healthier choice.”
For more information about the YOLO scheme: call Lee Buggie on 0161 2535122.