Parents to be Sent ‘Fat Reports’ Under New Government Plans
Posted Nov 21 2008 4:30pm
Parents of overweight children will be sent ‘fat reports’ from their schools as part of the governments anti-obesity drive, it was revealed yesterday.
Schools will weigh children at the age of four to five and again at ten to 11, then send details of their height and weight to their parents, with advice about whether the child’s weight is unhealthy.
With so many overweight children in the UK, health experts believe that parents cannot recognise whether their youngsters fall within a normal weight range. Latest figures show that 10 percent of children aged four and five are obese, and another 13 percent are classified as overweight.
The figures – no pun intended – don’t get any better for children aged ten to 11. Around 17.5 percent are classed as obese with another 14.2 percent overweight. Ministers are so concerned about the rise in childhood obesity that parents will n automatically receive information about their children’s weight, unless they specify they don’t want to know.
If parents wanted the information from the National Child Measurement Programme in the past, they had to ask for it, which allowed many to ignore the problem. Other - irresponsible parents - have kept their children out of school on measurement days, meaning the alarming figures could still underestimate the full extent of obesity levels.
Critics said the changes to the scheme, due to be introduced when the new academic year begins in September, were part of the Government’s ‘nanny-state’ approach.
Conservative front-bencher Nigel Waterson said: “These are issues for families to sort out, not the Government”
But the National Obesity Forum said the changes did not go far enough, and called for children to be weighed and measured annually.
The Department of Health said: “The Government strongly believes that giving the results to parents is a vital way of engaging both children and families about healthy lifestyles and weight issues.”