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School weighing not helping children lose weight

The government initiative to weigh 11-year-old school children is not helping to tackle the problem of childhood obesity, a school nurse at the National Obesity Forum has said.

Speaking at the conference, Ros Godson said that she understands monitoring is necessary but it does not play a part in any ongoing strategy that offers children the support and education to lose weight.

The government has instructed school nurses to weigh all 11-year-olds but Ros Godson does not understand why nurses cannot instead sample the weight of a few children in each school.

She is concerned that school weighing sessions are not integrated into the school agenda and are not embraced by teachers and school staff.

"This is not the way that children are going to learn," she said. "If only we had the time to have health promotional sessions that are tied into the national curriculum."

Another problem is that the school nursing profession is considerably understaffed, she said, causing nurses to be overworked and unable to prioritise child obesity.

"I have utter disbelief that the government could get it so wrong," she said. "We are back to the days of the school nit nurse."

National Obesity Forum

Clinical Zones : Obesity and Children's Health

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"I totally agree with Ros Godson that mass weighing of 11 year-old children in school is a waste of time. How can the government have been so mis-informed that this could be a useful exercise in the national obesity strategy? It is simply naïve to believe that a one-off‚ measurement can do anything to improve obesity. Worse than that it has taken the school nursing workforce away from their other work. A key part of this is to contribute to reducing health inequalities by identifying and prioritising children to meet their health and related needs.  The imposition of weighing of all 11 year-olds takes a huge chunk out of this vital work" - Name and address supplied

"Free school meals in primary schools to encourage a healthy diet and why not try different foods" - Name and address supplied