Last updated 14 May 2019 - see all updates
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1. Main facts and figures
- in 2017/18, an estimated 22.4% of children aged 4 to 5 in England were overweight, a similar percentage to 2016/17 (22.6%)
- in 2017/18, the percentage of children aged 10 to 11 who were overweight was 34.3%, a similar percentage to 2016/17 (34.2%)
- in the 4 to 5 age group, almost a third (30.8%) of Black African children were overweight in 2017/18, the highest proportion of any ethnic group
- in the 10 to 11 age group, 46% of Black African children were overweight, the highest proportion of any ethnic group
The ethnic categories used in this data
The 16 categories used in this data are from 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:
- British (English/ Welsh/ Scottish/ Northern Irish)
- 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
- Black African
- Black Caribbean
- Any other Black/African/Caribbean background
Other ethnic group:
- Any other ethnic group
2. 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 (%)||2017/18 4 to 5 year olds (%)||2017/18 10 to 11 year olds (%)|
|Mixed White/Black African||28.6||39.6||26.7||40.3||28.3||39.6||27.7||41.5|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||25.5||39.5||24.9||39.4||25.9||40.1||25.4||40.3|
|Other including Chinese|
Summary of 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.
The data only includes children in state-maintained schools that participated in the programme. In 2017/18 there were 1,187,009 participants, with 5% of pupils opting out.
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 data is then used to calculate the percentage of overweight children. Be aware that although the figures provided are reliable estimates, it is impossible to be 100% certain of the true percentage.
Confidence intervals: Confidence intervals for each ethnic group are available if you download the data.
Based on the NCMP measurements, it is estimated that 22.4% of children aged 4 to 5 and 34.3% of children aged 10 to 11 were overweight in England in 2017/18.
It is 95% certain, however, that somewhere between 22.3% and 22.5% of all 4 to 5 year olds and 34.2% and 34.4% of all 10 to 11 year olds were overweight in 2017/18. 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 less certain the estimate and the wider the confidence interval. For example, there are fewer Chinese children in state schools in England than White British children, so we can be less certain about the estimate for this group. A wider confidence interval expresses this greater uncertainty. So, in 2017/18 between 17.0% and 19.6% of Chinese children aged 4 to 5 were overweight. Statistically significant findings have been determined when compared to the England average 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