THE number of overweight and obese adults and children in Bradford is on the rise, a new health report has revealed.

The findings have been revealed in an update on the Living Well programme, a joint initiative between Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in the district and Bradford Council, which will be discussed at a meeting tomorrow.

According to data from the National Child Development Programme, 23 per cent of reception children in the Bradford district are overweight or obese.

That's in comparison to 22.6 per cent in England.

"The percentage of reception aged children that are severely obese has increased to 3.2 per cent in 2017/18, was 22nd out of 150 when ranked with other local authorities," says the report.

"By the time children are measured again in Year 6, 37.9 per cent of children in Bradford District are overweight or obese, this compares to 34.2 per cent in England."

It adds that the proportion of children who are overweight when they start school fluctuates between 20 and 23 per cent, but the proportion in Year 6 is rising year on year.

Councillor Mohammed Shafiq (Lab, Bradford Moor) recently raised the issue at a meeting of Bradford East Area Committee, where members were discussing health issues in the district. He said: “A major issue for young people in our area is obesity.

“It is a time bomb. What is going to happen when these young people who are obese become adults? Are they going to end up being regular patients for the NHS from their 20s until they retire?We hear that children as young as 10 are obese. What can we do to fix this?”

And while the prevalence of childhood obesity varies across the district "there is a strong association with socio-economic deprivation, with levels of childhood obesity highest in the more deprived parts of the district".

The report also highlights the fact that adult obesity continues to rise. Information from GP practices has shown the number of patients over the age of 16 who are registered as having a Body Mass Index, a calculation designed to show whether someone is at a healthy weight, of over 30. A BMI between 30 and 39.9 puts someone in the obese range.

In the Airedale and Wharfedale CCG, that number stands at 20,014, in Bradford Districts CCG it's 63,274 and 22,795 in Bradford City CCG.

The report says: "This is over 106,000 adults who would benefit from living and working in an environment that would support them to make behaviour changes in order to live healthier lives. Some of these are also caring for children who would benefit too."

It adds that it will be a "long and sustained journey" for Bradford.

"They key areas of work within this programme have been developed through a process of working with over 200 individual stakeholders and community members to understand the root causes of why adults and children are less active and eating less healthy food and then developing a series of coordinated measures to start to address these causes," says the report.

Dr Anne Connolly, GP and clinical lead for self-care and prevention, NHS Bradford district and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) said: “We recognise that obesity levels in Bradford and district are on the rise. Reducing obesity in both adults and children is one of our key priorities and we are working on initiatives to support people in the district to be healthier.

“This year we launched Living Well, in partnership with Bradford Council, which will focus on making it easier for people of all ages and abilities to be more active and eat a balanced diet. This will include a Living Well service, supported by a website and digital tools, to help people make small lifestyle changes which can make a big difference to their weight.

“Living Well also involves working with organisations across Bradford to make a healthy lifestyle the norm. We will be developing a charter to encourage local businesses to provide a healthy option on their menus and also working with schools to develop healthy standards for children.”

Toni Williams, Public Health consultant for Public Health at Bradford Council, added: "Making sure children play and have an active lifestyle is an important part of every child's development.

"Bradford Council and Living Well can help families by offering help, support and the right infrastructure to eat healthily and stay active so they have a happy and healthy future.”