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National Indicator: Healthy Weight Children

up Increase the proportion of healthy weight children

Indicator Measure
Percentage of children aged 2-15 years whose Body Mass Index lies within a healthy range (between the 2nd and 85th percentile of the UK growth reference charts)

Current Status
In 2015, the proportion of children with a healthy weight was 72%.  This was an increase of 4 percentage points on the previous year’s figure (68%).

1998-2015Source: Scottish Health Survey
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 20 September 2016
Next Update: September 2017

Increase the proportion of healthy weight children

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
What more do we know about this National Indicator?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Maintaining a healthy weight during childhood is important for both physical health and mental wellbeing. While this indicator encompasses both underweight and overweight, currently the wider public health challenge relates to rising levels of obesity and overweight children in Scotland. Being overweight or obese during childhood is a health concern in itself, but when it continues into adulthood it can lead to physical and mental health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, increased risk of certain cancers, low self-esteem and depression.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Obesity develops when calorie intake exceeds energy expenditure. However, this simple picture is affected by a range of complex social and environmental factors that strongly influence individual choices. These include, for example: marketing of energy-dense and high salt foods to children; increases in sedentary behaviour and associated snacking; creation of environments that are safe for walking and play; access to active travel options; and health-promoting schools that support physical activity and healthy eating both within and outwith the curriculum.

What is the Government's role?

To manage childhood obesity, we need to help children increase their physical activity (and consequently their energy expenditure) while reducing their calorie intake. Tackling the environmental, social and behavioural influences, including the family context, is an important part of this. The Scottish Government and COSLA published the Prevention of Obesity Route Map in February 2010. The Route map makes a long-term commitment (over 20 years) to tackling overweight and obesity, to help achieve a healthier Scotland and contribute towards sustainable economic growth. The Route Map Action Plan sets out actions for stakeholders across Scottish society, including key roles for Community Planning Partnerships working in collaboration with the NHS and other stakeholders. Child healthy weight interventions tailored to local needs to support families whose children are struggling with their weight and want to take action are being delivered. Over 8,000 interventions were delivered during 2008-11, with a new target for a further 14,910 interventions set for delivery by March 2014. Additionally the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) Guideline 115 (2010) provides guidelines for clinical staff on the management of obesity in children and adults.

How is Scotland performing?

The proportion of children with a healthy weight has fluctuated between 66% and 72% since 2008.  The latest figure (72%) represents an increase of 4 percentage points on the previous year’s figure (68%), and is the highest in the time series from 1998.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

What more do we know about this National Indicator?

As in 2014, boys are more likely to be a healthy weight than girls, while younger children (aged 2-6) are more likely to be of healthy weight than 7-11 and 12-15 year olds.  Child healthy weight is also highly associated with deprivation, with a greater proportion of children in the healthy weight range in the least deprived areas compared to most deprived. 

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

The evaluation is based on: any difference within 2 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 2 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 2 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Food Standards Agency Scotland

Local Authorities

NHS Scotland

Schools

Sportscotland

The Food and Drink Industry

Third Sector Organisations

Related Strategic Objectives

Healthier

Smarter

Wealthier and Fairer

View National Indicator Data

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Title:Increase the proportion of healthy weight children
Description:Increase the proportion of healthy weight children
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