In turning current Local Authority (LA) Primary schools into "Academies",
This week’s Osborne budget has sinister implication for childhood obesity. Academies do not automatically participate in the annual "National Child Measurement Programme" (NCMP) - started in 2006 to reduce childhood obesity.
Currently the weight and height of all state primary children aged between 5 and 11 are measured for healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) by school nurses; The results for both schools (individuals confidentially) and LAs are then monitored for both boys and girls.
Exercise and healthy eating are strongly encouraged.
The process works together with the Healthy School Programme. Funding (such as for for Sport, Cycling, Walking, Buses, Access to Green Spaces) is motivated by the results so-calculated. Moving Public Health from the NHS into LA and County councils in April 2013, was argued to help Health work seamlessly in schools using these results.
(Hatfield Villages) Candidate Margaret Eames was running a PHI workshop with Public Health England last week- and noted the decreasing coverage of NCMP with the onset of "Primary Academies". Despite government paying school nurses to work in state primary schools, Academies do not necessarily participate. (Private nurses……….)
This lack of complete data; together with a culture of destroying good evidence; could have bad implications for thousands of school children
Margaret was Head of PHI in Herts and Beds when we pioneered this research on children first in Hertfodshire in 2004 . Our childhood obesity study entered all hand held records and showed BMI increases in all LAs in Herts, between 1998 and 2002. This analysis was ahead of its time. It is vital that such studies can be repeated. Under the government's proposals they will be unable to do so.
As it happens a dozen years after our results and concerns influenced government - with the "Choosing Health" White Paper, the Tory’s actions threaten to undermine the process.
-……..with very bad implications for thousands of school children
The Department of Health implemented NCMP in 2006. The Tory led Coalition followed that in 2010 by agreeing its importance - to have evidence to take action to curb childhood obesity.
Ironically Osborne's "sugar drink tax" recognises it is still a problem , albeit in a typically Tory way, but there will now be no good data to determine what difference it makes.
Still, it will raise some cash for the Tory Central Government……….to pay for aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, bombs and general stuff from (often US) arms companies………and their party funding corporate friends.