This site is intended for health professionals only

Plan to issue child obesity warning

The Department of Health (DH) is considering proposals which would see parents warned if their children are found to be overweight, it has emerged.

At the moment, Welsh and English youngsters are weighed when they are five and 10, but their parents are only handed the results if they specifically request them.

However, under the new plans parents could be given the results automatically.

A spokeswoman for the DH said the organisation needs to "work harder" to cut the rising levels of obesity in children.

She said: "Tackling child obesity is a Government priority and the weighing and measuring programme is an important element of this. The programme is a vital part of engaging with children and families about healthy lifestyles and weight issues.

"We need to take this further and help parents to understand the importance of healthy weight for their families and support them to make lifestyle changes.

"Parents should encourage their children to participate in this programme, so we can ensure we have robust data to inform local planning for child health services.

"This valuable information will also help to increase our understanding around child growth patterns, which is critical to combating the rising tide of obesity."

The move comes after the Government's Foresight think-tank issued a report last week warning that a majority of Britons will be obese by 2050 if weight gain in the population continues at the current rate.

It predicted that in just over 40 years, 60% of men, 50% of women and a quarter of all children in the UK are likely to be clinically obese.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Department of Health

Related story: School weighing "not helping children lose weight"
Clinical Zone: Obesity

Your comments:
(Terms and conditions apply)
"I think it would only single children out that are probably already feeling like outcasts. It will just give other children another reason to bully and abuse them. Parents are the problem - maybe they need to go back to school to learn about good eating habits and exercise. Some people take more responsibility for their pets than they do for their children these days. I was an over weight child and am an over weight adult, my children are not, and that was a decision I made before I had them - they get plenty of exercise and are encouraged to eat healthily” - Lynn Meredith, Practice Nurse Tamworth

"This proposal really worries me, as I feel that targeting individual children could lead to further problems, such as anorexia, bullying, etc. Healthy eating advice should be given to ALL children and families, with warnings about the risks associated with obesity, but individual children should not be targeted"- Kathy Howlett, Hull

"This can only go forward if people have a better understanding of food itself. Its nutritional values and portions. We also seem to forget that this is also related to lifestyle and activity, ie, exercise" - A practice nurse, Eastbourne