Monday, November 29, 2021

Child obesity clinics open after pandemic sheds light on crisis

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NHS England is expected to open 15 new specialized clinics for children with severe obesity after the Covid pandemic highlighted the crisis among vulnerable young people.

Obesity currently affects one in five children in the UK. Every year around a thousand children between the ages of two and 18 and their family members benefit from the pilot project.

The program also provides access to nutritionists, psychologists, specialist nurses, social workers, youth workers, and a pediatrician.

Amanda Pritchard, executive director of the NHS in England, described the coronavirus pandemic as “a harsh light” on the child obesity crisis.

She said: “The pandemic has put obesity in a harsh light – many young people at risk are struggling with weight gain during the pandemic.

“Obesity, if not controlled, can have other very serious consequences, from diabetes to cancer.

“This early intervention program aims to prevent children and adolescents from being sick for life.

“The NHS Long Term Plan is committed to taking more action to help children and adolescents with their physical and mental health, and these new services are a milestone in efforts to help them live longer, healthier and happier lives to lead.”

The announcement comes as NHS Digital is releasing the National Child Measurement Program for England for the 2020-21 school year, which is designed to show if child obesity prevalence is increasing.

It analyzes body mass index (BMI) classification rates by age, gender and ethnicity, as well as geographic analyzes covering children in admission and 6th grade in state government schools in England.

The previous report for 2019-20 had some noticeable results, with obesity prevalence increasing from 9.7 percent in 2018-19 to 9.9 percent in 2019-20 in the admission years, while obesity prevalence increased in year 6 from 20.2 percent in 2018. 19 to 21.0% in the period 2019-20.

Last year Boris Johnson launched the government’s anti-obesity strategy and is said to have developed a passion for the subject after his severe Covid attack.

It included plans to ban television and online advertising of foods rich in fat, sugar, and salt before 9 p.m. and to end stores like Buy-One-Get-One-Free for unhealthy foods high in salt, sugar and fat content.

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