MoreLife welcomes return of National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)


Morelife has welcomed the return of the National Child Measurement Programme to help reduce rates of childhood obesity in England.

Over the past 100 years the weight of children has been increasing with some parents unaware of the impact increased weight might be having on their children’s health. Over the last 30 years this rise is now a major global concern.

Severe childhood obesity remains a growing yet under-recognised health problem, and with the absence of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) during the Covid-19 pandemic, these rates have continued to grow.

The Government recently announced £100 million funding in its continued efforts to tackle obesity among adults and children, with over £70 million to be invested into weight management programmes, made available through the NHS and Local Authorities.

Many of these programmes rely on data from the NCMP, including the weight and height of children taken from measurements at primary schools. This allows Local authorities to act, providing information that allows them to identify and engage with families who are most in need of support.

We have a long history of creating health and wellness programmes for children

Following news that the NCMP will be returning to primary schools this September, Professor Paul Gately, CEO of MoreLife and Professor of Obesity and Exercise at Leeds Beckett University said: “We all want to make sure that children across the country have the best chances in life, and we know sadly that having a weight problem can have a knock-on effect on attendance and educational outcomes as well as poor health.

“Schools have a responsibility as part of personal, social, health and economic education to ensure the health and wellness of their pupils, and by measuring and weighing children, this can help us understand the problems.”

“From identifying these issues, raising awareness with parents, and sharing information about programmes that are designed to provide support, we can collectively tackle issues and prevent them from growing.

“The NCMP programme measures approximately 1 million children a year and receives a lot of support from parents who it helps empower to act.

“At MoreLife, the NCMP data allows us to work with hundreds of families, children and teens across our OneLife Suffolk, and Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes services, helping them understand the habits that effect their behaviours and supporting them to make positive lifestyle changes to improve their health.”

In England, 22.4% of reception-aged children suffer from obesity or are currently overweight, rising to 34.3% for children aged 10−11 years and 40% for children aged 13−15 years.

Alarmingly, severe obesity among this age group continues to rise and has increased by more than a third since 2007 to 4.2%, the highest rate recorded to date.

In May 2021, Leeds Beckett University released a study about the MoreLife Schools programme involving over 8,000 UK children from over 130 schools, to evaluate the effectiveness of current county-wide schools weight management intervention services.

The research demonstrated that that six-week multicomponent school-based intervention programmes involving activities to engage children and their parents are most effective in achieving small reductions in body weight status in children of all ages.

The full research paper can be read here – https://bit.ly/3A914bd

Learn more about MoreLife’s families and young people service in Suffolk and Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes.

Healthy diets for children

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