UK government warns parents about child obesity

August 6th, 2008 - 9:51 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 6 (IANS) The British government plans to send reports of school weight checks of children to their parents in a move to check the growing problem of obesity. Parents will be told if their child is underweight, healthy or overweight as part of the fat-busting initiative. Ministers claim the move is necessary because too many parents of obese children do not realise there is a problem, the Manchester Evening News reported.

But experts warn the new measure might prove confusing unless the results are accompanied by clear advice.

The government’s decision comes amid unprecedented concern about rates of childhood obesity.

Figures published earlier this year showed that nearly 23 per cent of children aged four and five were obese and 32 per cent of 10 and 11-year-olds were found to be overweight.

Obese children are at greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers.

Children nationwide are already measured for height and weight at least twice during primary school. Some primary care trusts write to families of children who test as obese, though there are huge variations nationally. Under the scheme, the results will be sent automatically.

Health Minister Ivan Lewis, the Bury South MP, claims parents will back the measure.

“Research shows that most parents of overweight or obese children think their child is a healthy weight,” he said.

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