New bid to tackle obesity in young

HUNDREDS of school children across Suffolk are to be weighed and measured as part of a new initiative to tackle childhood obesity.Every child in east Suffolk who is in a reception class (aged four) or in year six (aged ten or eleven) will be surveyed and their results added to a national study.

HUNDREDS of school children across Suffolk are to be weighed and measured as part of a new initiative to tackle childhood obesity.

Every child in east Suffolk who is in a reception class (aged four) or in year six (aged ten or eleven) will be surveyed and their results added to a national study.

The survey is being organised by the Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts in a bid to uncover the extent of obesity in children in this area.

Norman Foster, health improvement manager for the trusts, said: “At the moment we are really working on estimates when it comes to this area. There's no reason to think we are any worse than other areas, so we are guessing that around a third of children are overweight or obese.

“This can lead to them having serious conditions such as diabetes or heart disease in later life.

“The data we get will be extremely helpful in gaining a greater understanding of needs of the children in the area and will give an overview showing which community clusters need what level of support.”

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Mr Foster said there is no need for parents to be concerned by the procedures, which should only take a few minutes.

He said: “All parents or carers concerned will be receiving a letter from the school explaining the process and anyone not wishing to have their child weighed and measured will be able to opt out.”

He emphasised that no child will be individually picked out as a result of the exercise.

He said: “The purpose behind this is to give us information across the population and not to target individuals. Any help given to schools following the exercise will be offered to all children and families within the area”

“I must emphasise that this really is a surveying exercise it is not designed to target children. We are not going to start putting in lots of Big Brother-type interventions, this is just to see how big the problem is.”

The work will begin this month May and will continue to the end of summer term.

All information gathered will be treated with strict confidentiality and, although individual children's height and weight will not be routinely fed back to parents, any parent or carer wishing to have the details can be given them by the PCTs.

Do you think this is a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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