Letters warning parents about their child’s weight should be scrapped according to health experts
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) says the so called ‘fat letters’, which are sent to parents whose children are a concern, do not help to combat the problem of obesity.
It claims that mums and dads do not find the information useful.
Chief Executive of RSPH Shirley Cramer said: “We believe that the letter should be seen as the beginning of a dialogue with parents, not simply flagging up whether their child is obese”.
The society is calling for “healthy food vouchers” to be offered to youngsters who are considered as dangerously overweight as a means of encouraging families to eat more fruit and veg.
Figures from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) published last year, revealed that over a fifth of children in reception class were either overweight or obese.
In Year Six, 34 per cent of children were either overweight or obese, while 19 per cent were obese.
Currently schools in England weigh pupils when they start and finish their time at primary school.
Letters are then sent to the parents of overweight children informing them of any concern.
Ms Cramer added: “This is a great programme and many countries in the world are envious of it.
“That is because we are able to track children’s weight from reception to when a child is 10 or 11 and that means we can do something about it.”
‘Fat letters’ have left many parents shocked, especially those who say their child’s weight may be a result of them being tall for their age.
Public Health England spokesperson Eustace De Sousa said: “It is difficult for any parent to receive information that suggests their child carries excess weight, so local authorities take great care to ensure this is done as sensitively as possible.
NHS advice to parents is to try and make sure children are active for a least one hour a day.
A simple walk to the park or bike ride can be a really good way of exercising as a family.
For more information visit: www.nhs.co.uk