Weight loss

Is the media contributing to the obesity problem in children?

There’s been a spate of reports in the press where upset parents have told their stories of how their child as been wrongly accused by health officials of being obese.

Weight loss
Photos such as this don’t help parents decide if their own child is overweight…

But in fact in a normal ten year old child, you should be able to see their ribs. So do you know if your child has a weight problem? It seems a very simple question but a National Opinion Poll that involved more than 1,000 parents of children aged 4-7 reported that only 14% of parents of an obese child even considered their child to be overweight.

“Recent figures suggest that approximately one in three UK primary school children is overweight. The report’s conclusion should come as no surprise, then, if being overweight is basically the norm,” said Mike White, founder of Britain’s fastest-growing weight loss company, Boossh.

“As a rule of thumb, you should be able to clearly see a healthy ten-year-old’s ribs. It’s maddening that most people think that a child like this is severely malnourished,” Mr. White said.

In 2005, Government introduced the National Child Measurement Programme in primary schools to try and combat Britain’s growing child obesity problem, which has reached epidemic proportions.

Under the programme, a child’s height and weight are monitored and recorded both when they begin and finish school. In many parts of country parents are notified via letter about their child’s weight. Some become very upset when informed that their child has been classified as having a weight problem.

“The problem is further exacerbated when health professionals underestimate children’s weight. They struggle with the very same social conditioning as the parents and often mis-categorise the children,” said Mr. White.

Mr. White also cites national media as not helping the situation, as they more often than not feature photos of extreme cases of obese children when tackling the issue.

“Children classified as overweight invariably get compared by their parents to those kids featured on newspapers and television,” said Mr. White.

“Among adults, being overweight is the norm these days. Many people are not even aware they are overweight and disregard the associated health risks because they compare themselves with their peers. Because most of their friends are overweight, they are more comfortable with their weight and may not feel that have a problem until they are obese. It is a vicious cycle that is extremely hard to break out of,” said Mr. White.

“Fortunately, Boossh offers a very simple, efficient way to reduce weight by encouraging an active lifestyle, a healthy diet and a strong support system to keep the weight off long term,” he said.

More details: www.boossh.com

Do you find it hard to know if your child is the right weight or not? Leave your thoughts or advice for others below…

Are you concerned about your child’s weight? Have you received a letter from your child’s school about his or her weight? Have you put your child on a diet? If you have a story you would like to share with the health pages of a newspaper or magazine, contact us here: Story to Sell

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

One thought to “Is the media contributing to the obesity problem in children?”

  1. I totally agree that grown ups have very little understanding about what is overweight in the UK, let alone parents looking at their kids.

    HOWEVER. As a parent of slim kids I know that the way they grow is outwards first and then upwards. You always know that they are about to have a growth spurt because they’ve popped on a little extra around the tummy. These measurements that they use don’t take into account how a child does this.

    The measurements they use for these tests are like the highly inflexible BMI and therefore they do need a big dose of common sense and use of eyesight added in. There should be the option to do a second weigh-in where the nurse has marked that the child doesn’t look overweight, in order to take into account a potential glitch.

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