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Van Jaarsveld and Guilford report in this month's journal the results of their study on childhood obesity trends in England from 1994 to 2013 using primary care electronic healthcare records. There is undoubtedly some good news: the year on year rise in obesity levels seen in the first decade of data collection was extremely worrying when the odds of overweight or obesity increased by 8% yearly from 1994 to 2003. In the second decade up to 2013, this astounding increase had slowed to 0.4%. However, in this second decade, it remains extremely concerning that adolescent obesity (ages 11–15 years) appears to still be increasing in both boys and girls. The relative risk of remaining obese as an adult if obese in adolescence is very high,1 and the authors rightly point out that with a third of UK children being overweight or obese, the impact on public health remains a key public health priority.
In general, the data from this study broadly agree with the latest Health Survey for England, although the levels of obesity are generally higher. For instance, Hospital Episode Statistics data for 2012 suggest a prevalence of obesity in young people aged 11–15 years of 18.7%2 while both boys and girls in …