ONE in five reception-age children in Bury are overweight or obese, a Bury Council report has revealed.

According to the paper presented to the overview and scrutiny committee, the percentage of obese children in the borough has jumped from the previous year to 21 per cent.

The report admits “it is clear that more needs to be done to tackle childhood obesity” as levels in the borough are now approaching the national average after two years of being “significantly better”.

To address the problem the council is encouraging all primary schools in Bury to get pupils more active and run for 15 minutes each day as part of the Daily Mile programme.

Leader of the council, Rishi Shori, told the committee that the Daily Mile has so far been a success.

He further noted that a healthy eating scheme had been piloted involving classes and vouchers for fruits and vegetables.

Cllr Shori said: “The Daily Mile is something we are trying to embed in schools, it is 15 minutes of daily exercise.

“I think that, linked in to what we want to do around healthy eating, there has to be an element of targeting. You want to embed good practice in all schools and for all children.”

The corporate performance report, which evaluated the council’s progress on meeting its aims regarding residents’ health and wellbeing, also examined projections for healthy life expectancies finding that the index for men in Bury has continued to fall since 2014.

Healthy life expectancy refers to the average number of years that an individual is expected to live in good or very good health and is assessed from birth and again at age 65.

The healthy life expectancy for men in Bury currently stands at 58.5 years ­— below North West and national averages.

However for women the healthy life expectancy has increased to 62.2 years ­— above the North West but below the national average.

This is a further year on year improvement which the report claims may be linked to the “I Will If You Will” female fitness initiative introduced in 2014.

The report added: “Whilst Bury is not an outlier in terms of life expectancy within Greater Manchester, more needs to be done to prevent further decline/premature mortality in both men and women.

“Consequently, a new Integrated Wellness Model has been established as part of the Locality Plan and the work of the Lifestyle Service, to help address the issue by encouraging residents to adopt a more active, healthy lifestyle in order to live well and stay well for longer.

“Whilst there is still a general focus on women, the model consists of a wide range of physical and social activities for both males and females across the life course.”

Concluding the report, the paper’s authors vowed to look into areas assessed where outcomes were declining and “consider what steps can be taken to improve performance so that a positive contribution can be made to the delivery of the desired outcomes.”