Highlands & Islands

Concern over number of overweight pupils in Highlands

Children running
Image caption Children with healthy weights are involved in efforts to tackle the issue

Health workers have concerns about the numbers of young children considered to be overweight in the NHS Highland area, according to a new report.

The document said 25% of P1 pupils in the health board's area had a Body Mass Index (BMI) above the level which was deemed to be healthy.

The report said the national average for children being classified as overweight or obese was 21%.

The paper also outlined action being taken to improve children's health.

Highland Council's adult and children's committee will discuss the report at a meeting next week.

The NHS uses BMI to determine healthy weights for adults and children.

NHS Highland, which covers the Highlands and Argyll, has been collecting data on the weight of P1 children for the last three years.

The report said: "Some health boards have been collecting P1 BMI data since 2001 and this shows that although there are small fluctuations from year to year the overall rates of overweight and obesity have remained stable, at around 21%."

It said the figures also appeared to be stable in the Highlands, although there was concern that the rate of 25% was higher than the national average.

The paper's authors added: "The causes of overweight and obesity are complex and multifactorial and result from a combination of biology, behaviour and environment."

Work has already begun in an effort to tackle the issue, with initiatives being rolled out in the region's school.

Children with healthy weights have also been targeted in the programme.