National Child Measurement Program – A load of old tosh?

According to my sons school nurse and the National Child Measurement Program –  a recent age / height / weight measurement – he is overweight at 4 years old.

I agree he is isn’t a stick insect like my older boys, but at his age neither were they. Isaac tends to fill out and then have a growth spurt, and like many children his age he has puppy fat.  Isaac is solid, short for his age and has a stocky build (like his dad), but I still have to adjust the waist on his trousers to one of the smallest settings otherwise they fall down.

He weighs 16.9kg (in English this is 37lb 4oz or 2 stone 9oz) and is 0.965 metres tall which puts him with in a BMI percentile of 96.

He doesn’t eat large portions of food, he’s a bit of a fussy eater and won’t eat many vegetables, however he does like his fruit and will eat two or three apples / banana’s per day.

He also enjoys playing computer games, but also has football and swimming lessons once a week, walks to school and back daily and we regularly go out exploring the local beaches, forest or parks where he loves to run around and climb like most boys his age.

From conversations on twitter when I voiced my shock, it seems that we are by no means the only ones who have suffered at the hands of this scheme and I saw pictures of healthy happy boys deemed overweight, that looked like (for want of a better word) skinny beans.

I do agree that something needs to be done about the growing obesity problem, but

  • is 4 years old a realistic age to target?
  • have they got their measurements correct?
  • is there a better way to assess than BMI which can be so inconsistent, especially if a child is sporty.
I would love to know your thoughts on this, has your child been affected?

15 thoughts on “National Child Measurement Program – A load of old tosh?”

  1. This makes me mad. He isn’t over weight he doesnt even look it! And they wonder why the ages for eating disorders is getting lower!
    You know yourself if your child has a problem and like you say he eats well and is active 🙂

  2. My mother had the same experience with my little brother. He runs everywhere, he is a picky eater, and whilst quite tall for his age he is rather skinny. However, the school measured him and told us he was bordering on overweight. It made me so angry- our family has experience of eating disorders first hand. We can’t see how this can be anything but a trigger for vulnerable little ones to begin an awful journey into an eating disorder. Girls as young as 6 are getting anorexia now and looking at your post and magazines, films and models in the media, it’s not hard to see why.

    • I have not told him and don’t intend too – he is too young for all this. All we talk about is eating healthily and he understands he is not allowed to live off chocolate and sweets and they are treats only!

  3. My four-year-old is built differently to his big brother, who was always tall and thin. Blake is more solid, like a rugby-player. And I’m preparing myself for a similar amount of flack from the medical profession about his weight. (He’s a heavy boy, only a few lbs behind his six-year-old brother).
    But I’m seriously going to tell them to get stuffed. He eats an average amount and is very active. I know once he starts school and grows taller he’ll slim down.
    When I was four in the 1970s I was of similar build – and everyone shrugged it off as puppy fat. Which it was. By the time I was seven I was tall and skinny.

  4. I always have this problem with Samuel as he is short due to his disability. The chart doesn’t “fit” for him.

    My three children are all completely different builds. I have a short and stocky, a short and skinny and a tall and at the moment carrying toddler puppy fat.

    Agreed, children should eat a healthy balanced diet and be kept physically active, but I wish they would just give children the time to “grow” before labelling them in a specific size group.

    I carried puppy fat myself up to about age 6, but from there I skinned out and stayed that way until being pregnant. So, yes, the age they are targeting is too soon.

  5. It is a load of old tosh! My son came out as normal – his measurements were taken on his first day back at school after having 3 weeks off with croup. He was a bag of bones as he had barely eaten and our GP was worried about his weight loss. The doctor said to feed him up a bit. We were amazed as we thought he would come out at underweight and were fully prepared to be quizzed on this.

  6. My son came in as 98 on both height and weight so no concerns from school nurse. He is taller than all the children in year above and most of year above that!
    Concerns were raised with my daughter being 75 for height and 25 or less for weight but this is same as big sister who is fine as teenager… Yes some kids have serious weight issues when they start school but they seem to over egg pudding with some kids

    • I think Isaac’s problem is he is short for his age, but he is never going to be tall as both Dad and I are fairly short.
      There are children at school who are visibly overweight, but fall into a much older age group – they should be targeting them instead!

  7. A friend of mine had this with her son. He’s a sporty child with lots of muscle and precious little fat, but muscle is heavier of course and he came up as obese. You’d think they’d use a bit of common sense, but it just seems to be a blind following of the guidelines.

  8. He is the same height and weight almost exactly as my 2.5 year old, so I dread to think what they will think of him when he starts school! It is ridiculous to think we can all conform to a certain shape and size, why not look at the child as a whole, rather than just measurements!


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