Parents are being encouraged to check their child's Body Mass Index (BMI) as National Childhood Obesity Week highlights the long term risk being overweight at a young age can have on later life.

Latest figures show more than a quarter of Year 6 pupils in Wolverhampton are obese, compared to just under a fifth of 10 year olds nationally.

Furthermore, nearly 70% of adults in Wolverhampton are overweight or obese, compared to a national average of 64%.

Obesity is associated with a number of serious medical complications and the charity MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) is using its National Childhood Obesity Week campaign to urge parents to see if their children are a healthy weight.

It says telling if a child is overweight by sight alone is generally inaccurate and usually leads parents of overweight children to mistakenly conclude they are a healthy weight. If left unrecognised this may have major implications for the child's future health.

Paul Sacher, co-founder and Chief Research and Development Officer at MEND, said: "With obesity reaching epidemic proportions and becoming the 'norm', it can be very difficult for parents to tell if their child is a healthy weight or not simply by looking at them.

"The easiest way to check if your child is a healthy weight or not is to measure their weight and height and then to use an online BMI calculator.

"We know the effect that unhealthy lifestyles and the obesogenic environment is having on our nation. With obesity induced illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many types of cancer currently costing the NHS £5.1billion, the financial and human pain caused by obesity has never been clearer."

Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Being overweight or obese has a fundamental impact on people's lives, not only in terms of their health but also their quality of life.

"It's particularly worrying that so many of our young people are now becoming obese - meaning they are putting their health and wellbeing at risk at a very young age.

"I'd encourage parents to take this opportunity to check their child's BMI, and if necessary take the first steps to reduce their risk of long term health problems."

Parents can check whether their child is a healthy weight or not at Type=links;Linkid=6236;Title=mend - BMI calculator;Target=_blank;.

For more details about National Childhood Obesity Week, which begins today (Monday 6 July), please visit Type=links;Linkid=6237;Title=mend;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Monday 6 July, 2015