Weighing children in schools: How an innovative scheme could curb childhood obesity
This entry was posted on 03/03/2018.
Government statistics show that nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 in England are now classified as overweight or obese.
And this week, the BBC reported that millennials are set to be the most overweight generation since records began.
The report is quite timely, since Marsden has just partnered with an innovative scheme that has been set up to help curb the trend of increasing obesity rates.
A month ago, the Mail Online ran a story about a ‘controversial’ plan to introduce weigh-ins in schools in Australia. However, there is a similarly innovative scheme that has already been running for some time much closer to home: NHS CHAMP (Children’s Health And Monitoring Programme), in Manchester.
Since 2006, primary aged children in Reception and in Year 6 have been weighed and measured in the school setting as part of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP); individuals’ results are routinely offered to parents via letter.
A child’s growth pattern is a fundamental indicator of health and wellbeing yet overweight in children is almost impossible to recognise by sight.
Weighing children annually
Then, in 2015, the NHS in Manchester took the bold step of measuring all primary aged children annually and feeding back individual results to parents via the website www.champ.mft.nhs.uk. Research over the past three years has shown that children whose parents register with NHS CHAMP are more likely to follow a healthier growth pattern.
The NHS in Manchester has found that parents are universally interested in their children’s growth and are best placed to support positive lifestyle change. NHS CHAMP is consulting with young people to understand whether they would like to learn about their own growth and development.
NHS CHAMP is a multi-partnership scheme – Marsden is one partner - and will see the NHS in Manchester producing a digital growth chart for every child attending a Manchester primary school. This digital growth chart will inform the advice and help provided to parents, and also help the NHS in Manchester to understand what needs to be done to reduce childhood obesity.
Over the coming months, Marsden will be acting in an advisory role to NHS CHAMP, and will report any updates and developments here on our blog.
Weighing scales for classrooms
As part of a child health programme, measuring weight and height offers valuable information and adds to a holistic picture of health and wellbeing. Feeding back growth information can influence positive behaviour change - but the feedback must be trusted and value driven.
Marsden Class III Approved weighing scales are perfect for weighing children, particularly those with a separate indicator to allow you to take a weight reading more discreetly.
The Marsden M-425: A popular choice among schools due to the scale’s separate indicator. This is the scale that NHS CHAMP use and it allows them to take a weight reading, and the children do not have to see what their weight is. It has a 220kg capacity and graduations to 50g (below 150kg).
The Marsden M-420: This is a lightweight and portable floor scale, powered by 6x AA batteries. It has a 220kg capacity and graduations of 50g<150kg>100g.
The Marsden M-545: Alternatively the Marsden M-545 Floor Scale also comes with a separate indicator. This scale features BMI, Hold and Tare functions, as well as a BSA (Body Surface Area) function - unique to Marsden scales.
You can download our free guide for weighing children and babies here.