Schools to weigh pupils in bid to beat obesity

SCHOOL pupils as young as four will be weighed in schools in a bid to tackle childhood obesity. Reception and year six classes in schools

SCHOOL pupils as young as four will be weighed in schools in a bid to tackle childhood obesity. Reception and year six classes in schools across Somerset will be weighed and measured during the summer term.The scheme is part of Somerset Primary Care Trust's (PCT) initiative to find problem areas and crack down on overweight children. Director of health Dr Caroline Gamblin said: "Regrettably we are already seeing an increasing number of middle-aged obese adults with diabetes and life threatening heart disease. If we are to improve the health of the nation we must start by helping parents and children to target the communities where the problems are worst."The information will be available to parents, teachers, healthcare workers and local authorities so the patterns of overweight and obese youngsters can be monitored. National Health Service figures for the South West show that 15 per cent of two to 15-year-olds are obese. Forecasts show that 100,000 children in the region could be obese by 2010 - roughly one in 10. The health risks of obesity in children are also a major concern. An overweight child is more likely to develop diabetes, poor mobility, psychological harm and become a victim of bullying. Dr Gamblin added: "We know that there are a growing number of children who become obese at a younger and younger age. Every parent wants the best for their child and the best start in life comes from giving your child a healthy, balanced diet and encouraging children to take plenty of exercise. "We will not be creating a league table of individual children's sizes. Any measurements that are taken will be made anonymous before the results are published."Once the children have been weighed, the data will be added to a national database, with the results due to be published in early 2008.


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