THOUSANDS of Hampshire children are leaving primary school obese, with hundreds more classed as severely overweight, new figures show.

The latest figures obtained by the Local Government Association (LGA) show 3,900 (29.4 per cent) ten and 11-year-olds moved up to secondary education in the 2016/17 academic year overweight.

Of these, 1,809 (13.6 per cent) were classed as overweight – up from 1,750 (13.1 per cent) the year before – while 2,091 (15.8 per cent) were obese, down 106 pupils – 2,197 (16.5 per cent).

The figures also revealed that 343 children (2.59 per cent) in the county were classed asseverely obese.

Starting out in school, 3,520 (23 per cent) Hampshire Year R schoolchildren were of an unhealthy weight – 2,201 (14.4 per cent) overweight, 1,319 (8.6 per cent) obese, and 271 (1.77 per cent) severely obese.

In contrast, 9,214 (69.5 per cent) of Year 6 pupils, along with 11,717 (76.5 per cent) of Year R children, were of healthy weight.

In Southampton during the 2016/17 school year, 828 pupils (34.9 per cent) aged ten and 11 were classed as not a healthy weight – down just one from the year before. This broke down into 316 students overweight (13.3 per cent) and 512 obese (21.6 per cent).and 114 severely obese (4.81 per cent).

In reception year, 393 (13.1 per cent) were overweight, 206 (10.2 per cent) were obese, with 74 (2.47 per cent) severely obese.

This, the LGA warned, puts people at serious health risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer – obesity is now

the second biggest cause of cancer.

Severe obesity can shorten a person’s life by 10 years – an equivalent loss to the effects of lifelong smoking.

Across the country, figures show that 190,306 Year 6 children (34.2 per cent) were classed as overweight, obese or severely obese.

For children in Year R, this figure was 142,235 (22.6 per cent).

Councillor Patricia Stallard, Winchester city councillor and Hampshire County Council member for public health, said: “I am concerned about the rising trend in childhood obesity and that is why tackling it is one of the council’s key public health priorities. While there is no quick fix, our approach is to work with our partners, community-based organisations, schools and many other settings to support children and families as early as possible, to make the most of opportunities to help children achieve a healthy weight.”

The county council added that it has been working directly with schools on healthy weight campaigns and also undertaken joint projects with partners – such as school nursing services and school, meals services – to promote healthy eating.