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1. Main facts and figures
in 2016/17, an estimated 22.6% of children aged 4 to 5 in England were overweight, an increase from 21.9% in 2014/15
during the same period, the percentage of children aged 10 to 11 who were overweight increased from 33.2% to 34.2%
in the 4 to 5 age group, Black African children were the most likely to be overweight in 2016/17, with almost a third (31.1%) being overweight
in the 10 to 11 age group, Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi, and Other Black children were the most likely to be overweight
The ethnic categories used in this data
The 16 categories used in this data are those listed in the 2001 census. The categories are broadly the same as those used in the 2011 census, with the following exceptions:
- the 2001 census categorised Chinese people within 'Other ethnic group'
- the 2001 census did not list Gypsy and Irish Travellers or Arab people
The 2001 categories are therefore as follows:
- English/ Welsh/ Scottish/ Northern Irish/ British
- Any other White background
Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:
- White and Black Caribbean
- White and Black African
- White and Asian
- Any other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background
- Any other Asian background
- Any other Black/African/Caribbean background
Other ethnic group:
- Any other ethnic group
2. Overweight children by ethnicity
|Ethnicity||2014/15 4 to 5 year olds (%)||2014/15 10 to 11 year olds (%)||2015/16 4 to 5 year olds (%)||2015/16 10 to 11 year olds (%)||2016/17 4 to 5 year olds (%)||2016/17 10 to 11 year olds (%)|
|Mixed White/Black African||28.6||39.6||26.7||40.3||28.3||39.6|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||25.5||39.5||24.9||39.4||25.9||40.1|
Summary of Overweight children Overweight children by ethnicity Summary
Launched in 2005/06, the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures over one million children each year and is a valuable source of data on childhood obesity.
Measurements of height and weight are collected from children in reception (ages 4 to 5) and year 6 (ages 10 to 11), primarily in state-maintained schools in England. This analysis is based only on children in state-maintained schools that participated in the programme. England totals include all children in state-maintained schools, with a valid height and weight measurement, including those with an unknown residency. Children aren’t required to participate in the programme, but if they don’t want to they need to opt out. In 2016/17 there were 1,186,000 participants, with only 5% of pupils opting out.
Confidence intervals The confidence intervals for each ethnic group are available in the ‘download the data’ section.
The NCMP is calculated from the number of schoolchildren aged 4 to 5 and aged 10 to 11 in state-maintained schools, rather than all schoolchildren of those ages in England. This measure makes a reliable estimate of the percentage of children of these ages in England who are overweight, but it’s impossible to be 100% certain of the true percentage.
Based on the NCMP measurements, it’s estimated that 22.6% of children aged 4 to 5 and 34.2% of children aged 10 to 11 were overweight in England in 2016/17.
It’s 95% certain, however, that somewhere between 22.5% and 22.7% of all 4 to 5 year olds were overweight in 2016/17. In statistical terms, this is a 95% confidence interval. This means that if 100 random samples were taken from the total population of school age children in England, then 95 times out of 100 the estimate would fall between the upper and lower confidence interval. But 5 times out of 100 it would fall outside this range.
The smaller the size of the population, the more uncertain the estimate and the wider the confidence interval. For example, fewer children from the Chinese ethnic group are enrolled in state-maintained schools in England than White children, so we can be less certain about the estimate for the smaller group. This greater uncertainty is expressed by a wider confidence interval, for example of between 14.5% and 17.2% of Chinese children aged 4 to 5 were overweight in 2016/17. Statistically significant findings have been determined where the 95% confidence intervals of an ethnic group do not overlap with the England value.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
England totals include all children in state-maintained schools, with a valid height and weight measurement, including those with an unknown residency.
Figures have been rounded to one decimal point.
Further technical information
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Public Health England
Purpose of data source
The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures the height and weight of children in reception class (aged 4 to 5 years) and year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years) to assess overweight and obesity levels in children within primary schools. This data can be used at a national level to support local public health initiatives and inform the local planning and delivery of services for children.
Type of data
Type of statistic
Purpose of data source
The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures the height and weight of children in Reception class (aged 4 to 5) and year 6 (aged 10 to 11), to assess overweight and obesity levels in children within primary schools.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, age group, value, numerator, denominator and confidence intervals