Best Practice

Tackling obesity – the primary school role

Preventing childhood obesity is a key challenge of our time, with many seeing a vital role for primary schools – but how best can we engage with pupils and families to make a difference? Dr Joanne Clarke reports on her research into this area

In most developed (and many developing) countries, childhood obesity has become much more common over the last few decades, and is now regarded as one of the most serious global public health challenges of the 21st century.

In England, one in five four to five-year-olds are overweight or obese, rising to one in three 10 to 11-year-olds (1). This sharp increase in obesity rates over the primary school years, alongside the long-term contact that schools have with the majority of children and their parents, are two factors that have led to primary schools being seen as a key setting for obesity prevention.

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