MP Paul Blomfield calls on ministers to back Sheffield child obesity project

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield has urged ministers to act on the child obesity by learning from a city project and ensuring similar services are provided across the country.

In his speech In a Parliamentary debate this week, Mr Blomfield highlighted the work of SHINE Health Academy, a Manor-based charity supporting young people with obesity, and pressed the Government to require weight management services for children to be funded by the NHS, just 18 months after the MP took the charity to meet the Minister to highlight the issue.

Mr Blomfield told Parliament about the work of SHINE saying that: “They take children on referral from GPs, teachers, and social workers. They have great outcomes. But they’re funded mainly by charities because neither Clinical Commissioning Groups nor Local Authorities have the responsibility for commissioning services. And that must change.”

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He added that it was wrong not to provide treatment for child obesity, saying: “Imagine for a moment we were talking about another disease; say cancer. Would we say that we’ll invest in prevention, but offer no treatment to children? Of course not. So why do we accept it for obesity?”

Kath Sharman, Managing Director of SHINE Health Academy, said: "After several years of campaigning for appropriate funding to be allocated to weight management services for children and young people living with severe obesity and complex needs, it is reassuring for our voice to be heard at parliamentary level. We are grateful to MP Paul Blomfield who has supported us on our journey, after meeting with our young people and hearing about their lived experiences.

"Weight issues not only pose medical risks such as diabetes and fatty liver, but also have a psychosocial impact affecting emotional wellbeing, mental health and academic attainment. Obesity is a disease and not a choice, and I am so encouraged to hear this is now being recognised. Intervention is equally as important as prevention".