ALMOST half of Barnsley’s youngsters are classed as ‘unhealthily overweight’ when they leave primary school.

NHS Digital figures show 25.9 per cent of year six pupils in Barnsley schools were obese last year.

Nearly eight per cent of those were classed as ‘severely obese’, which means they had a body mass index (BMI) in the top 0.4 per cent for a child’s age and sex.

It means the area has seen the largest rise in the proportion of older primary school student who are obese compared to before the Covid pandemic across the entirety of the country.

A total of 19.3 per cent of pupils were classed as obese in 2019/20, the latest period available with comparable data.

A further 14 per cent of children were also overweight, meaning 39.9 per cent of the borough’s youngsters are classed as ‘unhealthily overweight’ when they finish primary school.

The data comes from the government’s annual National Child Measurement Programme – part of its approach to tackling obesity – which records the height and weight of year six and reception-age children in state-maintained schools across England to monitor obesity trends.