Winning obesity fight

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Regarding your article, Is this girl, 11, really obese?’(Aug 15) I wish to clarify that the terms overweight and obese have two very different meanings.

It is therefore important that the words are not used interchangeably by the media, as you did in your article recently.

Feedback provided to parents/carers through the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) clearly outlines whether their child fits within the underweight, healthy weight, overweight or very overweight category.

The health risks to children and young people who are overweight or very overweight are significant.

This is an important issue for us all and we should be encouraging all parents/carers to support their children to maintain a healthy weight.

Within a few years being overweight or obesity will overtake smoking as the major cause of preventable ill health.

The total costs associated with overweight and obesity are estimated to rise to £165 million in 2015, in Sheffield alone.

The National Child Measurement Programme is just one of many ways we are working together to address this issue.

Through the programme we can support families in their efforts to keep their children healthy – and where appropriate make positive changes to their lifestyle.

Over 97 per cent of Reception Year and Year 6 children were weighed and measured in Sheffield this year and more children are taking part each year. This high coverage recognises the importance the majority of parents/carers place in ensuring that their child takes part.

The good news is that childhood obesity in Sheffield is no longer on the rise.

This shows that the tide may be beginning to turn and everyone’s hard work here in Sheffield and in particular that of families and children themselves, may be starting to make a real difference.

Dr Jeremy Wight, Director of Public Health, NHS Sheffield