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Child obesity battle needs more school nurses

At least 500 school nurses need to be immediately employed to help fight the obesity timebomb facing UK's school children, says health union Unite.

In response to the obesity Foresight report released today, Unite/Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors Association said that the battle needs to start in preschool years and continue throughout schooling.

Unite Professional Officer for School Health and Public Health Ros Godson said that school nurses are ideally placed to offer advice and counselling to young people on diet and nutritional issues, "unfortunately, there are just too few school nurses - about 2,5000 in total across the UK - to meet the health needs of millions of school aged children."

"A good way for the government to counter the negative publicity generated by the obesity crisis this week is for there to be a pledge for 500 more specialist school nurses to be trained and then employed immediately."

The government "Choosing Health" white paper goal is that each primary school will have a fulltime school nurse by 2010, but it is calculated that at the current rate of training this will not be achieved until 2023.

Related story: School weighing not helping children lose weight

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"The issue is more than just school nurses. Obesity has many factors - exercise, sleep, diet, self-esteem, ethnicity etc. Although more school nurses would be great, the issue needs to be tackled from all perspectives" - Kirsty Armstrong, Lecturer/Practitioner in Primary Care