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ข่าวประจำวัน : UK Schools "must tell parents" if children are obese

LONDON (Reuters) - Primary schools should inform parents if their children are overweight or obese, an influential group of MPs said on Thursday.

Failure to do so would result in the parents being kept "in the dark about possible serious health risks to their children", the Committee of Public Accounts warned in a report entitled "Tackling Child Obesity - First Steps".

How the information will be presented to the parents will be up to the Department of Health to decide, the report added.

However, the department, which has been against providing such information in the past because of fears over a child's stigmatization and bullying, has yet to settle on the best method.

Information on four and 11-year-olds has already been gathered as part of the department's weighing and measuring program begun last summer.

So far, the information has only been sent to Primary Care Trusts to help it plan its obesity program.

Obesity is a factor in a number of chronic diseases and conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

It is a growing phenomenon among children aged between two and 10, rising from 9.9 percent in 1995 to 13.4 percent in 2004.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the committee, said: "The extent to which children in this country are obese is alarming.

"More alarming still is evidence that, unless we act, the proportion of children who are obese will increase sharply."

The committee called for a multi-pronged approach to tackling obesity, which would include the government departments of Health, Education and Skills, and Culture, Media and Sport.

Families would be persuaded to change their behavior and encouraged to adopt healthy eating and to take up sports and activities.

"This is tricky territory," Leigh said.

"It is therefore all the more urgent that the departments involved work together to set a clear direction."

In a separate move, the Department of Health is to fund a 494,000-pound program which will see pedometers distributed to children at schools in deprived areas in an attempt to get them walking to fitness.

About 250 schools across the country will be given 45,000 pedometers, and pupils will be encouraged to keep track of their progress via a Web site, Public Health Minister Caroline Flint announced this week.

Schools Minister Jim Knight said: "Walking is one of the easiest ways to exercise and pedometers can make it more fun for children."

ข่าวประจำวัน : 25 January 2007
แหล่งที่มา Reuters
อ่าน 241





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