Mum of four-year-old Bury St Edmunds schoolboy who is told he is overweight, criticises NHS campaign

After school carried out BMI checks on children as young as 4 and then sent letters saying they are overweight and risk obseity in future.''Pictured:  Wendy Brinkworth with child Thomas
After school carried out BMI checks on children as young as 4 and then sent letters saying they are overweight and risk obseity in future.''Pictured: Wendy Brinkworth with child Thomas
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A mother has slammed a Government health campaign after she got a letter to say her four-year-old son is fat.

Wendy Brinkworth who lives in Bury St Edmunds, says she fears the Government’s Changes 4 Life programme could do more harm than good, leading to youngsters developing eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

Children in reception classes and year six at schools are having their height and weight taken to work out their body mass index (BMI).

Parents whose child exceeds a certain BMI then get a letter advising that their child is either overweight or obese.

Miss Brinkworth whose son Thomas is a pupil at Howard Primary School received a letter advising that he is overweight.

“I don’t think it is right, particularly at that age, to put that pressure on parents and children.

“It is hard enough getting children to eat.

“They should let children be children,” she said.

“He hasn’t got a belly – there’s no fat on him. He runs around like a headless chicken.

“He is just a big boned strong lad.”

She said her son is already ‘anxious’ about his weight and has salad, yoghurt, and fruit for his packed lunch.

An NHS Suffolk spokesman said: “The National Child Weight Management Programme is part of a national initiative to tackle the problem of overweight and obese children, and informs parents of their child’s weight with possible underlying health conditions.

“In Suffolk we know that nearly a third of children are overweight or obese. Families are encouraged to take action to improve their lifestyle through the Alive N Kicking programme, which gives support and advice on eating more healthily and taking plenty of exercise.

“Tackling weight issues earlier in life will help prevent longer-term health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which reduce quality of life and life expectancy.”