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 2018, 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, written by Healthy Weight Cornwall, 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.
Data and knowledge around obesity in children and adults can be accessed through the Public Health England webpages.
Solihull’s Multi-agency threshold criteria identify children with acute or chronic health conditions (including obesity, a clinically healthy weight is defined as: >2 – <85th centile of UK90 BMI distribution) 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.
Curriculum (Universal provision)
Practical cookery and food education is now compulsory in the 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 PE and Sport Premium was introduced in 2013 as a direct payment to schools with primary age children. Schools must use the funding to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE and sport offered. Schools are required to publish details of how they spend their PE and sport premium funding on their school website.
The premium should be used to:
- Develop or add to the PE and sport activities that the school already offers build capacity and capability within the school to ensure that improvements made now will benefit pupils joining the school in future years.
There are 5 key indicators that schools should expect to see improvement across:
- the engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity – the Chief Medical Officer guidelines recommend that all children and young people aged 5 to 18 engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, of which 30 minutes should be in school;
- the profile of PE and sport is raised across the school as a tool for whole-school improvement;
- increased confidence, knowledge and skills of all staff in teaching PE and sport;
- broader experience of a range of sports and activities offered to all pupils increased participation in competitive sport.
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:
Sizewise groups meet at local sports and community centres. The groups follow a 12-week programme including healthy eating advice and a weekly beginner’s exercise class. To find out more or to book your place contact the weight management team on 0800 015 3265.
One to one appointments are offered at various GP surgeries throughout Solihull.
Drop In sessions are open to anyone over the age of 16 who wants information on losing weight or general healthy eating advice. No referral or appointment needed.
Drop In sessions are held at: You+Shop; Bosworth Medical Centre, Crabtree Drive, Chelmsley Wood; and Solihull Methodist Church Hall.
Make and Taste cooking skills for parents:
One off taster sessions – aims to improve awareness of food hygiene plus gain a better understanding of healthy food choices. It is also an opportunity to taste a selection of quick and easy to make drinks and snacks.
Make and Taste sessions – a set of 4 interactive workshops to develop practical skills to enable you to improve your children’s eating habits. It also aims to increase your confidence in budgeting, preparing and cooking healthy meals for all the family.
For further information about Make and Taste contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0800 015 3265
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.