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Primary School Children Will Be Weighed And Parents Informed If They Are Obese

by Medindia Content Team on May 21, 2006 at 3:25 PM
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Primary School Children Will Be Weighed And Parents Informed If They Are Obese

In a bid to combat the rising problem of childhood obesity health officials will weigh primary schoolchildren aged four to 10 years and inform their parents if there is a danger that the kids are obese.

The Independent on Sunday reported that ministers have decided to overrule the Children's Commissioner and their own child health officials who are of the opinion that telling parents would affect the children's mental health.

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Caroline Flint, the health minister said, "It's about making sure that whatever we do, government supports families to make the right decisions. It is families who first and foremost influence what their children eat and what their children do in terms of exercise."

The Department of Health has issued some guidelines, but feels that children can be very sensitive about the issue, "Children can be very sensitive about their own size and those of children around them. Measuring height and weight could accentuate this sensitivity and increase the risk of stigmatization and bullying."
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Dr Fiona Adshead, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer said that they had urged the ministers not to impose this measure, "We had a lot of concerns from child health officials who wanted to caution us against systematically feeding information back to children. The reason they did that is we are not sure we can guarantee effective treatment."
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