'Whole school' war on obesity

19th October 2007 at 01:00
School nurses call for urgent action.A "whole school" approach, rather than tackling individual children, is the way to tackle Britain's obesity timebomb.

A report by Government strategists Foresight warned this week that a quarter of children and between 50 and 60 per cent of adults will be obese by 2050, costing the country around pound;45 billion a year.

Around one in 10 children is now classified as obese. Another study has revealed that children's waistlines have expanded by eight to 10 centimetres since 1977.

The report, Tackling Obesity: Future Choices, comes in the same week that Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, renewed calls for schools to play their part. On Wednesday, he helped launch the One Million Meals campaign with the School Food Trust, which aims to increase the number of children eating school food by one million by 2010.

Ros Godson, from the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association, which represents 2,500 school nurses, wants every school to have its own equipment to weigh and measure children. She also wants each school to have an area to meet pupils in confidence.

She told the National Obesity Forum's annual conference in London that school nurses were ideally placed to help but had "neither the time nor remit" to maximise the opportunity. The Children's Food Campaign has called for junk food ads to be banned on television before 9pm.

Despite the gloom over obesity, a survey has shown participation in sport in UK schools is improving.

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