Schools Should Scrap 'Fat Letters' Say Health Experts

11 November 2015
Time to scrap the dreaded fat letter?

Health officials reckon it's time to do away with the dreaded 'fat letter' which schools send home to parents of overweight children.

Primary school children are currently weighed at school as part of the National Child Measurement Programme, and a letter is sent home to notify parents if their child's BMI shows they are overweight.

But experts from the Royal Society for Public Health say 'fat letters' aren't actually helping to address childhood obesity and should therefore be scrapped.

The Independent reports:

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health said: "Parents also need to be provided with support and our calls to reform the 'fat letter' are intended to make better use of this". She said parents believe "the letter should be seen as the beginning of a dialogue with parents, not simply flagging whether their child is obese."

A survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health also found that only one fifth of parents consider the 'fat letter' helpful.

But according to the Telegraph, over a fifth of children in reception were either overweight or obese, and ten per cent were obese during 2013/14.

If my child had an unhealthy BMI I can't say I'd be thrilled to get a letter about it from the school, so I'm all for these latest calls to do away with the 'fat letter' - but let's hope it's replaced with a more practical, pragmatic approach to helping parents address childhood obesity.

I've never clapped eyes on said 'fat letter' but the scheme has never struck me as the most considered approach to tackling childhood obesity. It's surely the case that most parents will be well aware of their child's weight problem if it's an issue, and firing off a letter to state the flipping obvious is nonsensical to me.

What's your view? Have you ever received a 'fat letter' from your child's school and if so, did you it constructive? Do you think it's time to ditch the fat letter, and what measures would you like to see in its place to tackle obesity in schools? We'd love to hear your thoughts over on our Facebook page.

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