NOO early comments on Griffiths et al. ‘Area-level deprivation and adiposity in children: is the relationship linear?’ (2013)

Previous | NextHome > News > NOO early comments on Griffiths et al. ‘Area-level deprivation and adiposity in children: is the relationship linear?’ (2013)

This recently published paper has received much media attention since 12th February, mostly under the headline of ‘Middle-class children are more likely to be obese than those from poor families’.

This is at odds with both conventional wisdom that obesity prevalence in children is highest in areas of deprivation, and with analysis from large national datasets such as the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). The NCMP measures the height and weight of over a million school children aged 4-5 and 10-11 across England every year. NCMP data have consistently shown child obesity prevalence to be highest among the most deprived 10% of areas in the country, and lowest in the least deprived 10% of areas.

NOO considers that the findings of the paper appear to have been misinterpreted in the press.

The data presented do show that the highest probability of being classified as obese is around the middle of the IDACI (Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index) range. However, the press have interpreted the ‘middle of the range’ to equate to ‘middle class’. In reality, within areas with an IDACI score in the middle of the range 50% of children would be living in poverty – which rather than ‘middle class’ suggests considerable deprivation.

NOO will be conducting further analysis and reporting on this issue more fully.

For more information see:

Health and Social Care Information Centre NCMP 2011/12 Report

NOO NCMP 2011/12 Report

NOO Key data factsheet: Child Obesity and Socioeconomic Status

Or email info@noo.org.uk