23 September 2022
The Child Measurement report for 2022 has been published today by Public Health Intelligence. This report presents information on the levels of obesity in children in Jersey in academic year 2021/22.
The heights and weights of children in Reception (Year R: 4 – 5-year-olds) and Year 6 (10 – 11-year-olds) are measured annually through the Jersey Child Measurement Programme (JCMP).
Body Mass Index (BMI) can be calculated for each pupil from their height and weight measurements, and results are categorised into 'underweight', 'healthy weight', 'overweight' and 'obese'.
The report shows:
- one in four children are already overweight or obese when measured during the first year of primary school.
- children living in urban parishes are more likely to be overweight or obese than those living in rural parishes.
- obesity levels in Year 6 children has decreased (19% compared to 25% in 2020/2021) and are now similar to pre-pandemic levels.
- obesity levels in reception aged children in the most recent academic year are also similar to pre-pandemic levels for this age group (12%, compared to 10% in 2019/2020).
Director of Public Health Peter Bradley said: "I welcome these reports which allow us to better understand the health of our children. Our Island has rising levels of life-threatening preventable diseases, many of which are caused by diets low in nutrients and high in unhealthy processed food.
"One of the guiding principles of our food and nutrition strategy is to focus on prevention through early intervention. There is real commitment from ministers to ensure every child in Jersey has access to a healthy, balanced diet. Public health work will start with initiatives in early years settings and primary schools, and then move onto addressing barriers to achieving a healthy diet, including the affordability of healthy food.
"Through the collective efforts of programmes such as Family Food and Fitness, Food Dudes, the Primary School Meals Partnership, and Healthy Start, we work with children, their parents, and schools to promote and support healthier behaviours, and to improve access to balanced and nutritious foods.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Karen Wilson, said: "Today's report shows that continuous effort and improvement in this area continues to be necessary.
We know that one of the best ways to improve children's nutrition and future food behaviours is through increased access to healthy, nutritious meals and I look forward to seeing work progress to promote healthy behaviours."
The full report is available.