A MUM has blasted a “fat-shaming” Government scheme which dubbed her “slim” daughter, four, as “very overweight”.
Hair stylist and cleaning business owner Karla Fisher, 31, from Bradford was horrified when her daughter, reception pupil Freya Wilson, was weighed earlier this academic year.
Little Freya’s Body Mass Index (BMI) put her in the 99 percentile – meaning she was bigger than 99 percent of other children weighed.
Figures for the UK are released annually at the end of the year for September to September (the school academic year) but a Freedom of Information request carried out by Fabulous revealed so far this year thousands of children across the UK have already been deemed “overweight” or “very overweight”.
Karla, one of the mums whose kids have been given this title, said the scheme – The National Childhood Measurement Programme – was “fat-shaming children”.
“I was heartbroken, overwhelmed and shocked when I received the letter,” said Karla.
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“It was difficult to articulate how I felt.
“She clearly isn’t overweight.
“She eats healthily – her favourite meal is tomato and olive pasta and she loves fruit. Of course she has the odd sweet treat but nothing excessive.
“She’s very active – she does ballet, tap and swimming once a week.”
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The letter said she was in the “99 percentile.”
“She was nearly off the chart,” said her mum. “She basically couldn’t get any fatter according to the NHS.
“I think it’s scandalous that little girls and boys as young as four are being weighed and then fat-shamed.
“They’re being labelled as obese. It’s setting kids up for a lifetime of insecurity.
“There are already so many people struggling with food issues – why start causing problems this early?”
Bradford Council hadn’t responded to a request for a comment but a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman, who run the scheme, said: “The National Childhood Measurement Programme helps to inform action taken at both a local and national level to improve the health of all children and promote a healthier weight.
“Our approach to the programme is reviewed every year, in consultation with a wide range of experts, as well as children and families, school-nurses and headteachers.
“Providing parents with their child’s results is not compulsory and local authorities can choose if and how to notify parents.”
Has your child received a letter informing them they’re obese? Email: [email protected]
What is BMI and why are people critical of it?
Body Measure Index (BMI) is calculated by dividing a person's weight (in kilograms) by the square of their height (in metres).
According to the NHS, for children and young people aged two to 18, the BMI calculator takes into account age and gender as well as height and weight.
The BMI calculator works out if a child or young person is:
- underweight – on the 2nd centile or below
- healthy weight – between the 2nd and 91st centiles
- overweight – 91st centile or above
- very overweight – 98th centile or above
'Centile' just means the percentage groups people can be divided by. E.g. 'You are among the 98th biggest person among a group of 100'.
But there are a lot of critics of using BMI as a form of measurement, both among children and adults.
For example people say it doesn't reflect things like height – taller children will of course weigh more.
And muscle mass weighs a lot – so muscular children and adults will weigh more than their peers.
Geneally (especially) as adults) men weigh more than women.
And it doesn't consider things like bone density.
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