The World Health Organization (WHO) regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges in the 21st century. Obese children are more likely to be ill, be absent from school due to illness, experience health-related limitations and require more medical care than normal weight children. Overweight and obese children are also more likely to become obese adults, and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood. In England, the health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS more than £5billion every year.
National Child Measurement Programme Operational Guidance 2016, Public Health England
NICE guidelines for Obesity: identification, assessment and management (Nov 2014) raises the potential for a link between childhood obesity and abuse and advises practitioners to:
Be aware of or suspect abuse as a contributory factor to or cause of obesity in children. Abuse may also coexist with obesity.
The links between childhood obesity and neglect are explored in Childhood protection and obesity: framework for practice (BMJ 2010;341:c3074, RM Viner et al.).
A summary of the review can be read here. Whilst links between obesity and neglect are possible, the need for more in-depth research is identified as well as the issue not to be viewed in isolation.
Solihull’s Multi-agency threshold criteria identify children with acute or chronic health conditions (including obesity, a clinically healthy weight is defined as: >2 – <91th centile) as potentially requiring a multi-agency coordinated approach. This would be an appropriate response where signposting to sources of support had limited impact on the child’s wellbeing. It is likely that there may be additional concerns related to neglect and/or other types of abuse. Schools may find it helpful to consult Solihull’s Neglect Strategy for further information including the Graded Care Profile
Solihull MASH Team on 0121 788 4333 (Monday-Thursday 8.45am-5.20pm, Friday 8.45pm-4.30pm
Engage – Solihull’s Early Help service provides integrated support to children, young people and their families. The service is there to offer practical advice, support and direct case work to prevent issues escalating and requiring statutory intervention.
Telephone: 0121 709 7000
Eat Well Move More is Solihull’s family weight management and healthy lifestyles programme for families with children aged 4-16 years who have concerns over their child’s health and would like support and guidance to make healthy lifestyle changes. The programme includes healthy eating and nutritional advice, tips and ideas for being more active, fun activities and games and interactive resources for the whole family to get involved. Referral criteria permits children and young people classified as overweight or obese (over 91st centile).
Children and young people can be referred on to the programme by G.P.s, Practice Nurses, Dieticians, Health Visitors, Paediatricians, Obesity Specialists, School Nurses or by a family member (self-referral).
Families and schools can also contact the Solihull Active team by calling 0121 704 8207 or filling out an enquiry form online via http://www.solihullactive.co.uk/EWMMEnquiryForm.
Curriculum (Universal provision)
Practical cookery and food education is now compulsory in the new national curriculum for pupils up to the end of key stage 3 (age 14) in local authority maintained schools.
The Eatwell Guide is a policy tool used to define government recommendations on eating healthily and achieving a balanced diet. Learning about a healthy diet within the curriculum and whilst taking part in other food related activities should promote this model.
The Food in Schools primary training programme provides teachers with an opportunity to enhance and develop their knowledge, skills and understanding about food and cooking in the primary curriculum. It enables secondary food teachers to work with primary schools to provide a programme of professional development; the Food in Schools training focuses on practical solutions for the classroom.
Food – a fact of life provides a wealth of free resources about healthy eating, cooking, food and farming for children and young people aged 3 to 18 years.
The national curriculum for physical education aims to ensure that all pupils: develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities; are physically active for sustained periods of time; engage in competitive sports and activities; lead healthy, active lives. It is statutory for all pupils in local authority maintained schools up to the end of key stage 4 (age 16).
The Association for Physical Education delivers and supports the delivery of physical education in schools and in the wider community.
Support for parents
NICE guidelines on Preventing Excess Weight Gain (March 2015): Further advice for parents and carers of children and young people, makes the following recommendations for parents, carers and everyone in regular contact with children and young people to:
- Encourage and support them to be active at every opportunity (such as active play, travel, sport or leisure activities). (See NHS Choices and NICE’s guideline on promoting physical activity for children and young people).
- Eat meals with children and young people.
- Help children and encourage young people to get enough sleep. Explain to parents and carers that this is because lack of sleep may increase the risk of excess weight gain in children and young people. Provide parents and carers with information on age-specific recommendations on sleep (for more information, see NHS Choices).
Solihull Weight Management Services (adults)
Local services for adults including advice around weight loss and general healthy eating advice:
Health Exchange offer support for anyone wanting to make lifestyle changes and need encouragement, advice and signposting.
Gateway Family Services provide a range of weight management services for anyone with a BMI over 30. This includes Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Lighten Up.
Man V Fat offer a men’s only weight management service which is based around a football league where service users compete in a team and are able to learn about healthy eating and other healthy lifestyles.
Contact Solihull Connect on 0121 704 6000
Updates and changes
These pages are updated regularly and should be used as the main source of information. Printed versions should be used with care as they can become out of date.