ALMOST a third of year six pupils in Wiltshire are either overweight or obese according to the latest data from Public Health England.

In Wiltshire, 29.3 per cent of children in year six are deemed to be above a healthy weight, 1.2 per cent below the average for the South West and almost four per cent less than the national average (33.2%).

Around a fifth of all children entering primary school in the county (20.3 per cent) are either overweight or obese, the figures also reveal.

Sugar is being blamed by health officials for the high numbers with campaigns like Change4Life attempting to reduce the estimated 5,500 sugar cubes (22kg) consumed by four to ten year olds every year.

Kevin Ellison, deputy director of health and wellbeing for Public Health England South West, said: “The latest child obesity figures for the South West highlight the importance for families to cut back on sugar in the diet.

“Sugar is lurking in everyday food and drink, taking children well over the maximum recommended amount.”

A new Sugar Smart app, which scans barcodes and reveals the amount of sugar it contains, has been launched to help parents.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist for Public Health England, said: “Children are having too much sugar, three times the maximum recommended amount.

“This can lead to painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, which can also affect children’s wellbeing as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school.”

The percentage of children who are a healthy weight falls by nearly ten per cent during primary school from 79.1 per cent in reception to 69.3 per cent by year 6.

But Wiltshire Council say they are working on a range of projects to help families including the life course obesity strategy, an ongoing healthy child programme and a SHINE programme for 7 to 11 year olds.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We are fully committed to supporting children and their families to be as healthy as they can. This commitment is demonstrated by a wide range of projects we are working on with our partners.”

“We work with public health nurses and early year’s providers to monitor and address any issues related to healthy weight indicators and ensure healthy messages are promoted via Wiltshire’s Healthy Schools Programme and Personal Social Health & Economic Education in schools (PHSE).”