Call for change over health checks measuring Sheffield school children as ‘overweight’ 

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Parents are calling for changes to be made after claiming their children were wrongly categorised as being overweight in health checks at school.

Lowedges mum Anna Ashforth told how she was 'disgusted' when her four-year-old son Liam Jones was told he needs to lose weight after a check-up last year as part of the National Child Measurement Programme.

Liam Jones with mum Anna Ashworth.

Liam Jones with mum Anna Ashworth.

The scheme is an NHS-led survey of all children in primary school reception classes to check on their health.

A number of parents have now taken to Facebook to tell how their children have also been deemed to be overweight. There are calls for changes to be made in how the health tests are done.

Sarah Copley said: “It was on the TV the other night saying that those guidelines were not made to be used in schools. It is not really suitable for school kids.”

Another parent added: “My son had one at school, when he was about the same age. The results came back as 'very overweight'.

“Not an ounce of fat on him, never has had, very active boy.”

Benita Cegarra posted that “healthy, sporty, tall kids” are often being assessed as overweight.

She added: “Muscle weighs more than fat. Keep eating, keep playing sport, keep healthy, ignore the averages.”

A father said: “This is nothing new, this was being done when my eldest was at primary. She's an adult now, just a load of rubbish.”  

Richard Morley called for the NHS to “try doing it using a new survey or the adult way.”

Corinne Harvey, of Public Health England, said results are always passed to parents in “complete confidence” and the “majority welcome the feedback.”

Greg Fell director of public health at Sheffield Council, apologised for any upset caused. He added that while the body mass index used to assess a child’s weight is the best test at present he accepted it is also “imperfect.”