The Child Measurement Programme for Wales measures the height and weight of children in Reception class.
We want to learn how children in Wales are growing so that NHS Wales can better plan and deliver health services.
Public Health Wales is responsible for the coordination of the Child Measurement Programme and every health board across Wales is taking part in the programme.
- This report summarises the key findings of the Child Measurement Programme (CMP) for six Local Health Board (LHB) regions in Wales for the school year 2021-2022. This report relates to measurements taken of children resident in Wales, who attend reception class in Wales and turned 5 during the academic year.
- Data collection in 2021/22 was much improved compared with 2020/21. However, the collection remained interrupted with no data available for one LHB region. This means that we cannot provide an overall figure for Wales.
- Lower participation was noted in several Local Authority regions compared with pre pandemic coverage. Data science analytical techniques were used to explore the representativeness, concluding that it was appropriate to report raw (unweighted) data.
- The proportion of children with obesity varied across LHBs from 10.6% (95%CI 8.8-12.6) in Powys Teaching to 14.1% (95%CI 13.0-15.3) in Swansea Bay. The proportion of children with obesity also varied at Local Authority level, from 9.9% (95%CI 7.9-12.2) in Monmouthshire to 15.8% (95%CI 14-17.8) in Neath Port Talbot.
- Across five Health Board regions, the proportions of children with obesity were higher compared to the proportions reported for 2018/19. For Powys Teaching Health Board, the proportion with obesity was lower than reported in 2018/19.
- Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay University Health Boards were the only regions with comparable data from the previous year (2020/21). It was noted last year that the proportion of children with obesity had increased statistically significantly in both LHBs in 2020/21 compared with pre pandemic reporting. However, the current 2021/22 data reports a statistically significant reduction in the proportion of children with obesity.
- The proportions of children with obesity in the most deprived Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation quintile were higher compared to the proportion in the least deprived quintile across all six LHBs. This difference was statistically significant in four of the LHB regions.
- Deprivation trends within Local Health Boards over time showed a similar pattern from pre pandemic to 2021/22 across three LHB regions. For Swansea Bay the deprivation gap appears to have reduced since 2018/19. However, for Cardiff & Vale and Hywel Dda the gap appears to have increased. As deprivation gap is a relative measure, these results should be interpreted separately for each LHB, and not used to compare LHBs. Furthermore, they should be interpreted with caution as there are only 1 or 2 measurements since the pandemic.
- When comparing the current deprivation related obesity proportions for Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay Health Boards with the 2020/21 data, it was noted that the proportion of children with obesity in the most deprived quintile had reduced statistically significantly in 2021/22 across both regions. This suggests that the observed increase in obesity measures reported for 2020/21 may have been driven by changes in the regions with higher levels of deprivation.
- For this report, data provision at Primary Care Cluster Level were provided as a pilot. Within four LHB regions there were significant differences in the proportion of children observed to have obesity between Clusters. Cluster maps are available for each LHB in Part 2 of the report.