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Friday, 30 December 2005 13:31
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Pupils to be weighed in battle against obesity
Schools could be set to reintroduce medicals in which pupils are weighed at the ages of four and ten as evidence suggests a generation of sedentary youngsters could face a lifetime of weight-related health problems.

Nurses hope to spot the early signs of obesity by weighing and measuring the children as they start primary school and again before they move on to secondary.

The Department of Health will issue guidelines to primary care trusts on how to perform the checks following the 2004 White Paper aimed at halting the year-on-year increase in obesity among under-11s.

Statistics show that 22 per cent of boys and 28 per cent of girls between the ages of two and 15 are overweight or obese. These children face an increased risk of health problems such as joint pains and Type-2 diabetes in middle age.

Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, said: "This is such a massive problem something needs to be done.

"This is a good idea if more resources are put into school nurses alongside it."

But Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, warned: "This could be seen as more nannying by the Government and it exposes the past failures of policy and neglect of school sport. The obesity problem has been caused in large part by youngsters simply not getting enough exercise."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "This is not so much about measuring individual children but about motivating children, families and local populations to live healthy active lives."


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