Children in 216 Somerset primary schools are taking part in the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) this year.
A full 100 per cent of the County’s primary schools have chosen to take part in the nationwide initiative which aims to help reduce childhood obesity.
Parents of Reception and Year 6 children will receive letters about the programme and have the opportunity to opt their children out of the programme. Weighing and measuring takes place during the summer term.
Childhood obesity is a major national health issue. In Somerset, last year’s NCMP results found that 19.9 per cent of Reception children (aged 4 and 5) and 28.6 per cent of Year 6 children (aged 10 and 11) were either overweight or very overweight. That puts both age groups well below the national averages.
In June parents will receive a confidential feedback letter with details of their child’s weight and advice about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. School nurses will be on hand to answer parents’ questions and signpost to useful resources like the ZING website http://www.zingsomerset.co.uk/
Trudi Grant, Somerset Director of Public Health, Somerset County Council, said: “It’s fantastic that all the County’s primary schools are involved and I’m sure Somerset’s parents will embrace the programme. It allows us to monitor how healthy Somerset children are and offer support to families and schools to help them achieve a healthy weight.
“With the results we can tailor support where it is needed most. In some schools we are providing a six week Healthy Futures Zing programme using Change4life resources and we have also introduced ‘The Golden Mile’ into some Somerset schools. Children simply walk, jog or run around the Golden Mile track within the safety of the school grounds.”
To support schools, Public Health England has produced results letters, personalised for each school that took part in the 2015/16 programme. The letters will provide overweight and obesity data showing how individual schools compare to the local authority and England as a whole.
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Notes to Editors
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• 162 SCC maintained primary schools in Somerset and 54 primary academies are taking part.
• NCMP figures for England (2015-2016) show that childhood obesity has increased since 2014/15 in both reception and year 6. Over a fifth of reception children during the period were overweight or obese (22.1 per cent) and for children in year 6 it was over a third (34.2 per cent).
• The ZING website includes information on healthy eating and advice to help people get started if they are not used to exercise. You can create a personal account and start to record the amount of activity you have completed to earn personal awards and compete with others. Zing Somerset also has an app for iOS or Android phones. Download for free http://www.zingsomerset.co.uk/
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To find out who the elected Somerset County Councillor is for a particular area, simply visit http://www.somerset.gov.uk/councillors-and-democracy/councillors/somerset-county-councillors/