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To be angry about the National Child Measurement Programme

(90 Posts)
TheAnswerIsYes Wed 01-Jun-16 14:09:20

I am probably being unreasonable and should just ignore it but I am really upset about a letter I have received about my son's bmi. Sorry for the rant.

I was going to refuse to let DS5 be measured at school as I don't agree with the way BMI is worked out for children and I have rarely come across NHS staff that interpret the charts correctly. DH told me I was being silly and he didn't want our DS to be singled out if everyone else was being measured at school. He said it didn't matter anyway and I reluctantly let it drop.

I have now had a letter saying that the 'results suggest that my child is overweight for their sex/height/weight' and I 'may receive a follow up call to support me'. I am so pissed off about this letter. My child is not overweight. He is very healthy and active and I resent any implication that I am failing him.

When I checked his BMI on the NHS chart he is at the top of the 75th centile. According to his red book he has been on the 75th centile since birth. I agree that children that are overweight should be monitored and helped but I don't believe my child is one of them. I suppose everyone says that and there are lots of people that really notice that their child is fat but honestly mine isn't.

I suffer from anxiety and I understand that this is probably making me more upset about this than I should be. I just feel so conscious of what he is doing and eating now and I don't want to give him a complex about it.

TheAnswerIsYes Wed 01-Jun-16 14:13:36

Maybe I am delusional. I think he is lovely but then I would do. Not skinny but not fat, just right.

coco1810 Wed 01-Jun-16 14:15:31

He is fine. I have refused point blank to have both DC measured. They are both healthy, eat well and exercise regularly. Its a breeding ground for eating disorders and bullying in my opinion.

Favouritethings Wed 01-Jun-16 14:21:35

My youngest is a very similar build to your son. We got the letter too. Stuck it in the fuck it bucket. His Das is 'rugby build', I'm 5ft10. He's naturally going to have a certain body shape. We are a healthy, active family who enjoy treats too in balance

Timeforabiscuit Wed 01-Jun-16 14:23:02

It is really, really hard to just look at a child and say if they are overweight.

If we didn't have the childhood measurement programme we wouldn't know that children, in general, were getting heavier. Then there isn't anything to petition food industries and government for greater transparency on food advertised for children.

We wouldn't have anything to petitionpetition local governments to stop fast food outlets opening to cater for teens near schools.

Local authorities would have nothing in the way of evidencing support for sport clubs, active holiday clubs, open green spaces etc and their budgets would be stopped.

So yes, a letter is annoying, yes it feels like a judgement - but can you not see the bigger picture?

BoboBunnyH0p Wed 01-Jun-16 14:23:31

He looks perfectly fine. There are a couple in my DS reception class who have been advised their child is overweight and I was like really! They look fine. Yes a couple have been told their child is obese I would agree that there overweight but not obese.
My ds eyesight came back unsatisfactory, I took him to the opticians and his sight is fine and the optician had no idea why the referral had been requested.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 01-Jun-16 14:27:28

How is it a breeding ground for that? The kids are measured and the adults get the letter. Teachers are clever enough to not comment on children's shape and size other than how everyone is different.

I honestly can't see why people get so riled about this when you like you say, your DS had always been at the top end of the percentiles or you know your children are very muscly or whatever.

My children are at the skinny end of the scale and I got a similar letter. All my kids eat well and are hugel active, I don't need support but if someone called to check up after the letter I'm sure they and I would be happy to have a chat.

monkeywithacowface Wed 01-Jun-16 14:28:47

I think we've lost sight of what's normal. I wouldnt say he was hugely overweight but he isn't "just right" either he definately has some fat around his stomach. That's not to say he isn't gorgeous but it's about health not about appearances

Bearpeep Wed 01-Jun-16 14:30:43

I was recently try told by the HV that my 2yo is overweight. He's on the 35th centile for weight and the 9th for height. In her own words "I can see he's not overweight, I can see he's active and I can see he's quite lean but the chart says he's overweight so we need to discuss it."

She then went on to recommend that I ditch the pushchair and get him walking everywhere to help him lose some weight. Also that I cut out all sweets and treats and watch his portion sizes even though he barely eats, he has a large variety but eats very small quantities and some meal times eats nothing at all. He wears 12-18 month clothes, doesn't look at all chubby and was on the 91st centile at birth but dropped to the 35th within six weeks and has stayed there ever since.

He won't be participating in the programme when he goes to school because, frankly, the programme is bullshit and causes more problems than it solves.

RitchyBestingFace Wed 01-Jun-16 14:30:43

What (the inappropriately named) Timeforabiscuit said. The letter is to support you in ensuring that your child maintains a healthy weight so this could include advice on diet or support in getting your child more active. You might think you don't need this and individually you may be right. As a population though we are getting fatter and that needs to be addressed.

The weight centile doesn't mean anything without the height centile.

EponasWildDaughter Wed 01-Jun-16 14:31:05

I had a similar letter saying DD3 was under after a whole school weighing (this was about 8/9 years ago, so it's nothing new actually).

When i looked into it it turned out she was about 2lb under what had been decided was a 'normal' weight/height ratio and an 'underweight' letter had just been generated and sent because if it. sigh. I worried for days - getting ready to be defensive - nothing came of it. (i worked at the school as well!)

This has probably happened in your DS case OP, just the other way around. Don't worry about it.

Claraoswald36 Wed 01-Jun-16 14:34:51

Felicia - exactly my thoughts.
However it's the ops choice however hysterical it might appear. If I felt that way I would have kept my kid home that day and thought no more of it. I will be keeping dd home for a lesson I disagree with which other people will tell me I'm being unreasonable about.
Your kid your choice.

Some parents are delusional about their children's weight.
Obesity has increased infinitely recently. The government is not bu to try and curb it.

Timeforabiscuit Wed 01-Jun-16 14:35:19

grin Its OK I've switched to rich teas wink

megletthesecond Wed 01-Jun-16 14:35:54

Sorry, but he doesn't look 'just right'. He may well be slightly overweight at the moment. You just need to keep an eye on his food and activity levels so he doesn't put on any more weight in proportion to his height as he grows.

WorraLiberty Wed 01-Jun-16 14:38:39

If you genuinely think he's not overweight then I don't see why you're upset/annoyed?

Some kids carry a bit too much fat on their stomachs/hips for example and then after a growth spurt, they're slim again.

But some other kids continue to pile on the weight - hence the reason we have such an obesity problem in the UK.

If you're happy with your child's weight and everything you're doing, you've got nothing to worry about.

Yankeetarts Wed 01-Jun-16 14:41:30

My dc school Check their height and weight twice a year in pe lessons

britnay Wed 01-Jun-16 14:43:17

Sorry, but he does look a tad on the chunky side. Perhaps he's due a growth spurt?

quicklydecides Wed 01-Jun-16 14:46:42

I think he looks overweight to my eyes.
Twenty years ago he would be called the chubby one with that shape.
Don't panic, just reduce his treats slightly, forget about the letter, and enjoy a lovely active summer.

WorraLiberty Wed 01-Jun-16 14:47:39

I think the fact you were going to refuse to let him be measured, kind of indicates that you were expecting this result anyway?

I've only known a couple of RL parents who refused this, and both of their kids were overweight.

MackerelOfFact Wed 01-Jun-16 14:48:55

It's not an implication that you've failed him, it's a public health intervention aimed at giving parents the support to prevent serious problems before they arise.

He is gorgeous and lovely, and at the moment perfectly healthy, but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement in his diet or lifestyle. If you think you've got it covered, then cool beans, there's nothing to worry about.

There has to be a cut off-point between overweight and normal and unfortunately he falls just beyond it. Would you prefer they said nothing and then at some point down the line you find out, maybe when he's on the waiting list for surgery or something, when there's less opportunity to do something about it?

DerelictMyBalls Wed 01-Jun-16 14:51:19

It states very clearly in the letter that you are not meant to discuss the results with the child so how can the scheme cause eating disorders or bullying?

BMI is not a perfect tool by any means but they have to use something. They can't just sit there and look at the kids and go, 'Hmmm, Robinson's a bit of a podge...'.

AGruffaloCrumble Wed 01-Jun-16 14:51:30

I'm sure I read you should be able to see your child's ribs for them to be at a 'healthy' weight. A lot of parents fail to recognise that their child is actually overweight. I would say he is a little bit chunky, not necessarily overweight but possibly heading that way. Sorry, OP.

BitchPeas Wed 01-Jun-16 14:52:10

On a healthy weight child you should be able to see all their ribs. Children don't need extra fat stores. So I would say he is slightly overweight, sorry. It's better and easier to do something now than 10years down the line.

SpaceUnicorn Wed 01-Jun-16 14:52:16


One of my DC has been, since birth, on the 99th centile for height, weight and head circumference. I've had countless disagreements with 'professionals' who insist that this is a concern. It's utter rubbish smile

Everytimeref Wed 01-Jun-16 14:52:21

From the picture it would appear your son has fat around his waist which is one of the worst places to carry weight as it puts pressure on his organs. Maybe you should look at his diet and exercise. Much easier now than when he is a teenager.

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