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National Child Measurement Programme

(76 Posts)
Pseudonym99 Mon 22-Aug-11 15:20:02


How many of you have actually been asked to provide consent to have your child(ren) measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme (as oppossed to just being given the opportunity to opt out)?

And which local authority area are you in?

Scaevola Mon 22-Aug-11 15:25:26

Why are you asking?

This programme has been running since (at least) the 1960s, and I think since the 2WW and has provided a lot of key information about health trends over the decades - from malnutrition concerns (leading to free milk/vitamins) onwards.

My siblings and I, and all our children, did not choose to opt out. This is a valuable information stream for health planners. I hope the current generation is going to benefit from such a programme in the way its forebears have done.

Pseudonym99 Mon 22-Aug-11 15:28:39

Its only been running since circa 2006. I am asking because I am interested in whether parents are being asked for their consent to have measurements of their children taken by NHS staff, or whether schools aren't asking for consent and allowing staff from other organisations to do this.

ChildofIsis Mon 22-Aug-11 15:29:40

We were told about this happening at DD's school after christmas. (NYCC)
We had a form to fill in to give/withdraw consent.

The measuring was done in early june.
It wasn't accurate and my DD's came back as her being in the seriously overweight catagory. They had her as being 11cm shorter than she is.
So when checked at the docs she was just a tiny bit heavier than she should be.
The doc reckoned that lots of them are inaccurate.
He said it's part of government getting statistics rather than concern over individual kids, so slip-ups happen more often.

seeingonlyred Mon 22-Aug-11 15:48:10

I have some concerns about DS (4.5), so would be interested in finding out how I 'officially' determine whether he is overweight. Are there tables to look at?

He is an 'interesting' build- skinny torso where you can see his ribs at the front and the back. However his legs, feet, arms and hands look quite chubby. He has a round, face and I cant decide if it is chubby or not (he looks perfect to me so it is hard to be objective).

He is tall for his age and has always been in the top centiles for height and weight. Our HV weighed and mesured him fairly regularly until a year ago and had no concerns.

He is very active and eats well. I limit sugary snacks but we do have puddings.

I find it hard to be objective especially as DH is tall and very broad with huge hands, feet, head but not an ounce of fat- so I sort of tell myself DS is going to be 'big'.

However, if he is becoming overweight I would like to know so I can rectify the situation.

Scaevola Mon 22-Aug-11 15:52:13

The last administration renamed the long running paediatric public health survey. It began as a post-War initiative, and you can google results from 1960s onwards, and it's clear it was extant for many years before that, though not readily demonstrable on line.

Parental consent has always been required - right back from its inception over 60 years ago.

Pseudonym99 Mon 22-Aug-11 16:05:33

Scaevola - Government guidelines state that parental consent is not required - disguised as an opportunity to 'opt-out'. Which means if you haven't opted out, they assume you have given your consent, regardless of whether or not you have given it. I notice that some NHS trusts and local authorities recognise this and still ask parents to provide consent, so I am wondering which authorities care and which do not!

piellabakewell Mon 22-Aug-11 19:01:25

Ealing asked for consent, I withheld it. DD1 was lined up with all the rest in Yr 6 and felt too awkward to protest. By the time DD2 was in Yr 6 the school had got their act together and she was not weighed or measured.

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 19:42:19

Consent does not need to be explicit because it is not invasive and children are weighed in clothes hmm. That is why it is an opt out system. I have worked in school health for Dorset.
The programme has been running since 2006 and is vital in the public health interest. 25% of children are overweight or obese which will in turn lead to an increase in cardio vascular disease, joint complaints, diabetes, hypertension. All of these conditions cost the NHS billions already, not to mention the unproductive days lost by them and resulting cost to employers and educational attainment. We need to identify obesity early in order to prevent such diseases. Parents are often somewhat blinkered by their childs weight and wrongly assume 'it is just puppy fat' and that it will drop off. Unfortunately as children get older they tend to become more, not less sedentary as a result of computers/ gaming. Therefore, targeting children at primary age and encouraging a healthy diet and exercise is essential. If children are obese/overweight then parents require education on how best to manage this and prevent future illness and disease. HTH

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 19:52:09

seeingonlyred - if you look at the red book for your dc they should follow the centile they started on at birth. i.e. if they start on the 50th then they should remain on the 50th at age 5. If you weigh and measure and plot it on the book in the right month you will be able to see if this is the case. Because children have growth spurts and will be effectively chubbier for height before they get taller there is concern only if 2 centiles are crossed. i.e. if dc was below 9th or above the 91st, having previously been on the 50th iyswim. Also the advice is not to diet but to ensure good nutrition such as replacing crisps, biscuits and sweets with healthy options such as fruit, veg, breadsticks, toast etc as snacks. Also to encourage more activity such as walking to school/ cycling/ going to parks and running up stairs etc as opposed to expensive clubs.

JemimaMuddledUp Mon 22-Aug-11 19:58:58

How many children actually exactly follow the centile they were born on though?

DS2 was born on the 50th centile, was on the 91st by 8 weeks, still on the 91st at 9 months, back to the 50th by 2 years, on the 2nd by 3.5years, where he stayed until he was 6, now he is 7 and is on the 9th centile grin

whomovedmychocolate Mon 22-Aug-11 20:07:17

Blimey mine have not stayed on the same percentile. I was very sick when both of them were sick and as a result they were quite small. They are now big strapping buggers 91st percentile both of them, though DD has probably dropped a bit since her last growth spurt as she's shot up but not out.

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 20:08:31

Jemima about 75% will follow roughly within 2 centiles. If I saw your dc then I would suggest giving him more high carb snacks and the odd cake! We have two different types of parent and no inbetweeners (or very few).
1. Either full on no unhealthy food at all and no fat
2. No food control at all, lots of ready prepared/take away food and unhealthy snacks smile
There has to be a balance. Children do need a certain amount of fat in their diet and therefore when they are forced to take only healthy food to school they may not get enough fat if they eat extremely healthily at home at all times. The odd treat/ cake/ biscuit/crisps are fine. Unfortunately too healthy can mean too few calories if they are really active children smile.

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 20:09:47

whomovedmychocolate - love the name btw smile Where did they start?

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 20:12:25

Both my girls are still on the one they started on - dd1 started on 91st and still is within a centile, dd2 started on the 98th and was at 2 3/4 when she was last weighed.

whomovedmychocolate Mon 22-Aug-11 20:14:29

Umm 25th and 15th respectively.

whomovedmychocolate Mon 22-Aug-11 20:15:37

Sorry I was sick when they were both born not sick confused - I have pre-eclampsia with both and DD was three plus weeks late too due to confusion about due dates and her being small for dates because of the PET.

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 20:19:58

Mmm, that makes sense. If height and weight are on similar centiles then I don't stress, again if there is 2 centiles difference between them or more then I do smile. Also they can start to loose weight if they are very overdue because the placenta starts to degenerate and can limit nutrients so they probably just caught up smile

JemimaMuddledUp Mon 22-Aug-11 20:26:20

Lol - he eats his fair share of cake grin

He has always been in proportion, his height and weight have followed exactly the same pattern (ie all over the place!).

DD on the other hand is climbing steadily up the centiles, she was on the 0.4th as a baby and sometimes fell off the bottom of the chart, she is now on or just above the 2nd (aged 5). She is between the 25th and 50th centiles for height.

DS1 is going down the centiles for weight, he started on the 75th and is now on the 25th (he is nearly 9). At the same time he has stayed on the 75th centile for height.

Maybe my DC are just odd? grin

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 20:29:35

lol perhaps just add biscuits, crisps and theodd McD*** grin and now I will not swear anymore!

JemimaMuddledUp Mon 22-Aug-11 20:45:08

Ha ha - they all ate 3 courses at Pizza Express at the weekend: dough balls, pizza, ice cream and a bambinocinno - will that do? wink

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 20:46:37

sounds great can I come grin?

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 22-Aug-11 20:47:23

B*****r just realised I missed it!!!!! grin

Pseudonym99 Mon 22-Aug-11 21:47:17

thecaptaincrocfamily - I realise the importance of the programme, I do not have a problem with that. I am amazed, however, at your justification for not requiring explicit consent! Its this sort of attitude from the Health Service that brings it into disrepute. If I did not consent to my child beig measured but did not opt out for whatever reason, then I could have the school nurse arrested for common assault and reported to their professional body. It is simply unacceptable for procedures to be carried out without valid consent in my opinion, which is why a lot of schools do actually ask for consent.

thebitchandherwomb Mon 22-Aug-11 22:03:18

common assault?


have you not got other, more pressing issues to be worried about?

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