Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Weighty Matter of Kids' Health; around 16,000 Schoolchildren Have Been Measured as Part of a National Drive to Offer Families Advice and Support to Lead Healthier Lives. Health Reporter HELEN RAE Explains

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Weighty Matter of Kids' Health; around 16,000 Schoolchildren Have Been Measured as Part of a National Drive to Offer Families Advice and Support to Lead Healthier Lives. Health Reporter HELEN RAE Explains

Article excerpt

PARENTS are receiving letters this month relating to their child's height and weight measurements as part of a national drive to offer youngsters and their families support to lead healthier lives.

School nurses in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland have measured the weight and height of around 16,000 children in reception class and year six to record the information, which is treated confidentially. Now parents are being sent letters containing the results and being offered further advice and support from their local NHS if their child is found to be overweight.

Dr Dawn Scott, public health consultant for NHS North of Tyne, said: "There can be many reasons for a child to fall into the overweight category.

"The National Child Measurement Programme does not aim to judge families. Its aims are twofold.

"Firstly, it helps us measure the extent of the problem so we can develop services accordingly.

Secondly, it provides local health services with extremely important information which can be used to support local families to become healthier together." To improve children's health and wellbeing, the Childhood Measurement Programme - a shared national programme between the Department for Education, and the Department of Health - requires PCTs and local authorities to measure schoolchildren on an annual basis.

Parents have the choice to opt out of the scheme, which is now in its sixth year, and if their child takes part they will receive a results letter informing them of their child's measurements before schools break up for summer. Dr Scott added: "We have had a fantastic response from parents who have been happy for their children to take part in this national programme and welcome support and advice offered by the local NHS.

"Simple height and weight measurements are easy to collect and help us understand the health profile of the children of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. …

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