London’s Olympic borough is the worst in England for childhood obesity.


Analysis by the Meczyki on Wednesday revealed that the Olympic borough of Ondon has seen its highest childhood obesity rate in the country in a decade since the Games.

Critics said ten years of the legacy of the promise of a healthier and more active population had failed to materialize in areas of the capital that hosted the event.

Six Olympic boroughs saw obesity levels rise, while four – Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Newham and Hackney – were among the 12 worst local authorities in England for overweight children aged 6, the data showed. .

Jeremy Hunt, who was culture secretary at the time of the Games, told the Standard: “London 2012 exceeded expectations when it came to the regeneration of Stratford. [in Newham] But let us all down by not moving the dial further in terms of sports participation.

The government pledged to increase grassroots sports participation as part of the long-term legacy of the 2012 Games.

A number of initiatives were taken, including Sport England’s £135 million ‘People Place Play’ programme, which sought to improve local facilities and training and encourage people to try Olympic and Paralympic sports.

But the number of adults participating in the Games at least once a week fell in the three years after the Games, and the government committee was disbanded in 2015.

The latest figures from the Parliamentary Health Survey show that one in seven children across England are obese by the age of 5, rising to one in four by the age of 11.

Levels were highest in the country’s most deprived areas. Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets record the highest levels of child poverty in the UK and are also the most diverse communities.

In the 2020-21 school year, 36 percent of black children were likely to be active, compared to 48 percent of white children. The SportInspired survey found that this divide was primarily because black children were twice as likely to come from less affluent families.

A report by Sport England a year before the pandemic showed a 3.6% increase in children taking part in an hour or more of physical activity a day compared to the previous year.

However, young people from the poorest families were the least likely to be active, with 42 per cent getting an average of 60 minutes or more of exercise per day, compared to 54 per cent of children from more affluent families.

Almost a third of children in Barking and Dagenham were considered obese a year before starting secondary school, with only Walsall in the West Midlands doing worse in England.

Two-thirds of London boroughs have seen a rise in childhood obesity levels in a decade.

Around 23 per cent of Year 6 children in the borough were obese in 2009/10. By 2020, it had risen to 29 percent, according to figures from the Trust for London.

In the same age group Newham saw the level rise from 26 to 27.9 per cent, while Hackney rose from 25.6 to 27.4 per cent.

Greenwich saw the biggest increase of 6.6 per cent – rising from 21 per cent to 27.6 per cent over the decade.

Two other Olympic legacy boroughs – Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest – also saw levels rise.

In contrast, Richmond, south-west London, had the lowest levels of overweight or obese children aged 6 in England.

Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Haringey, Camden and Lambeth all saw a fall in childhood obesity levels over the same decade.

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge said: “The 2012 London Olympics was a moment of generational joy and celebration as the nation came together.

“But it was built on a promise to inspire a generation and when it comes to the health of our young people, that promise has sadly fallen short.”

Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, said: “The 2012 London Games have certainly left us all with many great sporting memories and a real sense of togetherness evoked by the spectacular opening ceremony. The legacy can be seen in the physical transformation of Stratford, but the trickle-out effect of regeneration extending beyond the Olympic Park to my Dagenham and Raynham constituency is highly questionable.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said it was “making some progress in increasing national participation in sport and physical activity until the impact of the pandemic reverses these gains”.

The National Audit Office has suggested that the government needs to do more to reach key groups with lower participation rates, including women, poorer communities and black and Asian people.

Newham, one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs in London, has lost two of its five council-run leisure centers in recent years. Manor Park Fitness Center was closed last year to make way for housing, while Balam Leisure in Plaistow had to close in 2019 due to “serious structural problems”.

Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, said: “The enthusiasm for sport and fitness has been a real and lasting benefit of London 2012. Unfortunately, it is not enough to stop the rise in childhood obesity. A renewed commitment from government is needed to tackle poverty. Statutory targets to reduce child poverty were – tragically – scrapped three years after the Games.”

A government spokesman said: “Over the past decade, we have prioritized the health and wellbeing of the country.

“We have provided an unprecedented £1 billion to ensure the survival of grassroots, professional sports and leisure sectors during the pandemic, and have prioritized their reopening to ensure access for all. Be available.

“We recently announced £320 million for schools’ PE and sport premiums for 2022/23, and more than £250 million to build or upgrade thousands of grassroots football pitches and tennis courts across the UK. announced.”