This report presents key statistics about children’s health and health related behaviours, showing 2016 prevalence and trends. It includes additional analysis relating to overweight and obesity among children in 2016.
- The prevalence of childhood obesity increased between 1995 and 2005. Since 2005 the rate of childhood obesity has levelled out, and in 2016 was 16% among children aged 2 to 15.
- In 2016, the prevalence of obesity among children aged 2 to 15 varied with household income, being lowest in the fifth of households with the highest incomes, and highest in the fifth of households with lowest incomes.
- Most mothers and fathers thought that their children were about the right weight (82% of mothers, 85% of fathers). Their perceptions were not always accurate; 39% of mothers and 52% of fathers of obese children aged 4 to 15 thought that their child was about the right weight.
- The proportion of children aged 8 to 15 who had ever smoked has decreased overall, from 18% of boys and 20% of girls in 1997 to 6% of boys and 3% of girls in 2016.
- The proportion of children aged 8 to 15 reporting ever having had a proper alcoholic drink (a whole drink, not just a sip) fell from 45% in 2003 to 15% in 2016.