We surveyed 272 children in Key Stage 2, Year 3-6, about their eating habits, exercise levels and their perception of healthy eating. In Bexley, the levels of overweight and obesity, both for children and adults, is significantly higher than national and regional levels, with 66.1% of the adult population in Bexley overweight or obese compared to 63.8% nationally and 57.3% regionally. Whilst there has been a downward trend in obesity levels for children in Reception and Year 6 nationally over recent years, the levels in Bexley has continued to rise.
Facilitating access to healthy foods, green spaces and leisure activities is key to promoting healthy lifestyle choices. Maintaining a balanced diet coupled with plenty of physical activity is crucial to maintain a healthy weight and tackle obesity. Being overweight and obese can put children at an increased risk of health problems, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, bone and joint problems and breathing difficulties. It can affect a child’s well-being and lead to low self-esteem and absence from school.
- Less than a quarter of children eat 5 or more fruit and vegetables each day
- Less than half of children are physically active more than 60 minutes per day
- 58% of children walk to school as their most common form of travel
- Almost half of the children, 46%, have sugary cereals for breakfast
- A little more than one third of children, 39%, eat treats such as chocolate, crisps, biscuits, cereal bars or ice cream every day.
- One in two children have a mobile phone, this increases to 4 out of 5 children for Year 6.
- Over half of children arrive at school feeling peckish.
- 32 children arrive at school feeling hungry and this equals a whole primary school class.
- 8 out of 10 children report having moderate to high energy levels upon arrival at school.