View Full Version : Childhood obesity - don't parents know?

11-20-2007, 05:37 PM
The following is a news article from the Nursing Times ( (a UK nursing journal) online:

Plans to send parents their children's weight under the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) have been criticised.

The amendment to the NCMP has been made in the Health and Social Care Bill which has just been introduced to Parliament.

Currently school nurses measure the height and weight of children aged between four and 11 under the NCMP but the results are only available to parents on request.

The Government has added the amendment to the bill to help combat obesity but the scheme will remain optional to children and parents.

Sharon White, professional officer for the School and Public Health Nurse Association, said: 'My concern is the support for parents told their child is over weight.

'They will need help to unpick the things that have lead to their child being obese in the first place.'

So my question would be: Won't parents already know that their child is over weight? Plus, surely unpicking the reasons might involve issues about diet and exercise; won't they? Or do I expect too much? :pepsi::confused::pepsi:

Mr Ian
11-21-2007, 02:21 AM
If it's optional then I don't see the real problem. I agree, a parent will generally notice when their child is overweight - hopefully! Most governments/health departments have initiated 'good diet' programmes haven't they? It's not like anyone's going to be surprised and go "But what's this 'overweight' condition mean? Is it contagious?"

However, I always try to compare current practice in similar veins:

1. Should we stop telling parents when their kid is in a fight at school so they don't feel like they are failing in teaching 'moral reasoning'?
2. Should we stop sending home school reports on a child's educational progress in case the parents think they're thick?
3. When the "nit nurse" finds one - don't we tell the parents? (Do they still have a nit nurse? aka headlice checker)
4. Should we stop interfering with child protection for suspected abuse?

Considering the cost of obesity in health to the child and to the state, surely a 'prompt' won't hurt any more than the ones they (we) get already?

11-23-2007, 06:29 PM
I wonder if this doesn't boil down to a political correctness of a sort. Sure the parents may see that their child is certainly overweight, but perhaps they are powerless to understand why or perhaps they may even be overweight themselves and just expect that how their child is, well, is normal. But as stated in the article, they are concerned how it will make parents feel if they get a letter in the mail stating something like, 'Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith, your child John Smith is 4'10" and weighs 150 lbs. According to our charts, John weighs too much for his height.' The parents then are upset because the school is calling their beloved son, fat. I wouldn't be surprised if someones family out there might just have a problem with that, even if they do know that their child is a little.. well.. too healthy, so to speak.

Obesity continues to remain a sensitive subject with such a social stigma attached to it. Obese/overweight people don't want to have that stigma attached to them, even if they are not able to deny what is obvious to everyone. This is not a problem that the schools alone are going to conquer. I wish the answer was easy, but it is not. I don't know the proper way to intervene, but I think that perhaps the schools could send the information to the physician who may then address the issue with the parents upon a visit?

Another answer could be a new focus for public health nursing, because it is not only the identified overweight children who need education on nutrition, but it is the skinniest child as well as the 'normal' child and ALL of their parents.

11-25-2007, 06:09 AM
Not trying to advertise here. But Jamie Oliver looked at the school lunches within some UK schools and found them disgusting. What the hell is a turkey twisler! When he brought in new foods there was an out cry from students and parent's bringing takeaways to the schools for their kids. If parents are going to do this then they should be getting weekly reminders that 'According to this weeks data your kid is is ....... and is at risk of Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and a possible heart attack AS A CHILD!!!!'

Also bring back compulsory sport and real sports! If the parents are not going to feed their kids good food, then they are going to have to loose the weight at school. A lot of gyms now have teen programs where teenagers can set a goal and work to achieve it with assistance, thus taking control of their health.

03-06-2008, 10:18 AM
My God daughter is overweight. Her mom and I do all we can. She sneaks and eats and eats and eats.
She is in the 4th grade now and it is starting to really bother her--more than it used to. But I know that her health is an issue. If anyone knows anything that we could do it would be great because personally and professionally I am flat out of ideas.
The doctor says--"Don't feed her so much" thanks alot doc.
Her labs are fine. but I wonder sometimes if it isn't something that should be dealt with psychologically.
We love her no matter what but I know she is going to have such a hard time in life if she doesn't get the weight off. She is just child and it is so hard to make her relaise that only she can fix the problem.
It is one of the most difficult things I think a parent--or God Mother could deal with. We have to be careful that she knows that her weight does not define her.
So very hard to deal with.

03-06-2008, 10:26 AM
I suppose because of the sensitive nature of the problem we should be sensitive in the way we approach it.
I wrote an article about this--I would like to share it but it is very long.
If you want me to post it I will.

Mr Ian
03-07-2008, 02:42 AM
If anyone knows anything that we could do it would be great because personally and professionally I am flat out of ideas.
The doctor says--"Don't feed her so much" thanks alot doc.

If you want a second opinion: You should just feed her less instead. ??!

You say she sneaks food - if this is in the home perhaps see if you can get mum to buy more carefully so even if she sneaks there's less bad choices available?

03-07-2008, 03:52 AM

Even if your God-daughter has a brain injury, has Prader-Willi syndrome, or has an emotionally-based eating disorder the following will prove effective:

- All foods in the house will be wholesome. That is, only whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, butter, olive oil, and water. Nothing made from white flour. No fried foods, no sugars/syrups, no white rice, no junk foods (such as candy, flavored yogurt, ice cream, soft drinks, 100% juices, cakes, cookies, and "fast food" from restaurants such as hamburgers, and fries), and no transfatty acids (margerine, hydrogenated oils).

- Daily exercise as a family such as a short walk before and after dinner.

- Get rid of the TV (or very strictly limit time in front of it). Ban video games and other hand-held electronic games (or very strictly limit their use).

- Obtain professional assistance if overeating is due to an emotional trauma (sexual assault, bullying, family violence, parental disapproval, etc).

- Assist the child to learn to gain personal satisfaction through arts, crafts, or sports.

- If brain injury or PWS exists, lock the refrigerator and the kitchen cupboards.

Childhood obesity is a family emergency. It can be successfully addressed ONLY if the whole family is involved.

Stepping down from my soapbox,


03-07-2008, 08:18 AM
You are so right---the problem is the family. There are two parents both of which do not have weight problems and two older boys that eat like horses. And then there is Cait.
I have made these suggestions but nothing seems to work. When she is at my house--we have different rules.
I eat low fat foods. I have been forced into that since I had a really bad wreck. Ever since the wreck I have been unable to digest much fat. My gall bladder is fine--So the doctor says--just don't eat fat. so I limit my fat intake. I have tried to train Cait the same way--and when she is here--she eats what I eat--but when she goes home--well it is a free for all.
Her mom and I have been friends since we were 5 years old. She has always been skinny and never had a problem with weigth until she had three children. She gained alot but has since lost it. But it almost seems as tho Cait gained what her mom lost.
I just think there are no easy answers. If she were mine it would be easier. But she isn't--all I can do is recommend things to her mom and try to teach Cait while she is with me.
It is very difficult--we seem to make progress and then she goes home, where they just don't understand the implications of it.

One of my best friends is an RD--she has spent hours talking to the mother-the knowledge is there. I don't know--how else to appraoch it other than the way I am.

05-21-2012, 02:53 AM
I think that the change should start in the home. Once the parents realize how big a problem obesity is, they should be able to change their diet and lifestyle. This may be hard, but it's going to be all worth it in the end.

It is also quite sad that government units are not doing anything to alleviate the problem of obesity among children.

02-05-2013, 05:20 PM
I think that obesity and overweight is a health problem which should be solved in family, giving support to that person. I also think that its very important to establish good habits with children because it will have influence on the rest of their life.