We all want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy adults however modern lifestyles can make it more difficult to be a healthy weight. We're not as active as our parents or grandparents were and with so many opportunities to watch TV or play computer games and with so much convenience and fast food available we don't move about as much or eat as well as we used to. If we carry on as we are, 9 out of 10 children could grow up with dangerous amounts of fat in their bodies, putting them at greater risk of developing weight-related diseases such as cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease in later life.
Parents often find it difficult to tell if their child is a healthy weight. Whatever their weight, it is important that children eat a healthy diet and are active every day to develop a healthy body.
Every year in England, all children in Reception Year and Year 6 have their height and weight measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). In Shropshire, members of the School Nursing Service carry out the measurements in primary school. Care is taken to ensure that the measurements are done sensitively and in private, and your child's results will not be shared with teachers or other children. Your child does not have to participate, but parents are urged to enable their child to take part.
If you have a child in Year 6 you will receive a letter from Shropshire Council with more information about the programme and an opportunity to discuss with a School Nurse any questions or concerns you may have or if you are thinking of opting your child out of the measurements. If you have a child in Reception year, you will receive information about the NCMP including an opt-out form when your child has their school entry medical. You can speak to a School Nurse if you have any questions about the programme or are unsure about your child being measured.
Within six weeks of your child being measured, you will receive a letter from Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust letting you know your child's height and weight when they were measured and whether this means they are underweight, a healthy weight or overweight for their age, sex and height. The letter also includes a contact number for further help or advice and an information leaflet on helping your family lead a healthy lifestyle.
Results from all schools in Shropshire are gathered together and held securely by local NHS and then sent to the Department of Health. These results are anonymous and don’t include details that could identify your child, such as name or date of birth. The Department of Health analyses this information to look at trends in children's heights and weights across England. This is used at a national level and in Shropshire to develop services to help children and their families improve their health. To see how Shropshire compares to the rest of England, visit www.ic.nhs.uk/ncmp
For further information and advice on managing your child's weight, contact Shropshire School Nursing Service on 01939 235277.
If you would like further information, please consult the 'helpful links' section on this page.
Trained staff taking height and weight measurements for children will use a BMI centile chart to calculate whether your child is growing as expected.
For information and advice on managing your child's weight, contact Shropshire School Nursing Service on 01939 235277.
The NCMP information is used to plan local health services for children and families.
The National Child Measurement Programme has been running since 2005.
Research shows that if a child is overweight, they are more likely to be overweight as an adult, which can lead to health problems.
The NCMP collects data on children's height and weight at Reception Year and Year 6.
Measurements are taken sensitively and in private by members of Shropshire's School Nursing Service. Your child's results aren't shared with teachers or other pupils.