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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Parents to be told child's weight

5th August 2008

An obesity expert has attacked plans by the Department of Health to send parents letters informing them about their children's weight and height.


Primary Care Trusts have been asked by the DH to post parents the information from the National Child Measurement Programme, which records the weight and height of all primary school children between the ages of four to five and the ages of 10-11.

The government believes that it is important to highlight the issue of weight with parents and for them to take responsibility for their child.

Tam Fry, an expert from the National Obesity Forum, criticised the plans, saying parents would not be given the "most useful information on body mass index".

In addition, he was critical of the hesitation over using the term "obese" in the data sent to parents.

The DH have said trusts should call obese children "very overweight" because research has suggested parents might feel alienated by the word "obese".

Ivan Lewis, Health Minister, said: "Research shows that most parents of overweight or obese children think that their child is a healthy weight."

However, Mr Fry said: "I find this whole approach from the Department of Health a bit prissy and namby pamby."

He said: "The Department of Health admits in its guidance that BMI is the best and most practical way to assess whether a child is overweight or obese, but then denies parents the actual figures for their children because they say it could be confusing for some."


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