No parent would want to be told that their child was overweight and could suffer health problems as a result, particularly if they exercise regularly.
Natalie Harvey was told by the NHS that her son, Hector, was “overweight” and could be at risk of type 2 diabetes if he didn’t lose a few pounds.
After being weighed by the NHS National Child Measurement Programme, a letter advised the mum that her four-year-old could also get “low self-esteem and poor confidence”.
Hector swims twice a week and runs every weekend which meant the news came as a shock to Natalie, 42, according to Derbyshire Live.
Now she has slammed the “dangerous” system which she claims could have a negative effect on young children across the country.
The Derbyshire mother-of-two said: “I felt like a bad mum, I thought I had let him down, but then I thought this is ludicrous and I felt angry.
“He leads a very active lifestyle and eats very well, so to receive a letter like that you go through a mix of emotions.
“I just think it’s an out-of-date system. Should I be an anxious person reading a letter saying I’ve put my kid at risk of having heart disease?
“It could send me over the edge and momentarily it did.”
What is BMI?
The National Child Measurement Programme measures the height and weight of children in reception classes to assess obesity levels in primary schools.
The programme uses a formula based on height and weight to determine body mass index (BMI) and then compares it to a reference sample of measurements gathered in 1990, taking age and sex into account.
Parents or carers can choose to withdraw their child from the process by responding to the letter.
Ms Harvey said Hector was weighed in his reception class at St Lawrence C of E Primary School in November last year but she received the letter on February 4.
And the results showed that Hector, who weighs three stone and is 3ft 5ins tall, is officially considered as overweight.
Ms Harvey, who works as a child councillor, continued: “If we sat at home and ate take-aways and led that sort of lifestyle I would think fair enough, but we don’t.
“Out of school he goes swimming twice a week and runs every Sunday in the park.
“I sat and stewed (on the letter) because I’ve been thinking am I going to ignore it or am I actually going to do something? This is a prehistoric system and it needs changing.
“It’s very dangerous. To label somebody overweight when they aren’t is potentially the start of an eating disorder.
“They are they missing the point you can be unhealthy with a fine BMI.”
A spokesman for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust said: “The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) is a nationally-run initiative which Public Health England requires all local areas to administer to primary school children.
“Local school health teams carry out the assessments to the standards set nationally. It measures the height and weight of children in reception class (aged 4 to 5) and year 6 (aged 10 to 11) with a view to helping parents keep their children at healthy weights.
“Parents whose child’s measurements fall anywhere outside the nationally-prescribed body mass index (BMI) levels, even slightly, will receive a letter. The wording of the letters is the same across the country and agreed at national level.”
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