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Parents across Bournemouth and Poole will get letters this week, telling them about the the national child measurement programme (NCMP).
The NHS programme, now in its sixth year, aims to get a national picture of childhood weight and help them with healthy eating and getting more activity in school.
With the consent of their parents, children are weighed and measured by the school nursing team, and then the result of the ‘measurement’ is sent to the parents with details of their child’s result. The letter contains information and outlines where to go for more help and advice if a parent is concerned about the result.
The letter has been developed with parents, so it is in a format which is most accessible to them. Sophia Callaghan, consultant in public heath at NHS Bournemouth and Poole has worked with the parents on positive initiatives to help combat dangerous amounts of fat in children:
“We all want what is best for our children and maintaining a healthy weight is a crucial factor in this. If we carry on as we are, 9 out of 10 children could grow up with excessive amounts of fat in their bodies. When we talk about health implications such as diabetes and heart disease, it is not to scare people, it’s because it is a fact and a trend we are seeing.”
The school nursing teams who are in schools on a daily basis have seen the positive impact of programmes like the NCMP and the interventions afterwards.
“Children have so much more self esteem and confidence when they are healthy,” said Bonita Matthews, one of the Poole Schools nursing team;
“The children we have engaged with and referred to other help such as dieticians often excel after the intervention and are supported by the family, who often all change their habits as a result.”
If you have any questions about the NCMP, please visit www.bournemouthandpoole.nhs.uk