Nutty NHS?

NHS Branding 5-Year Old “Overweight”

In a shocking letter, parents Amanda and Darren Watkins were told by the National Health Service (NHS) that their five-year-old son – who weighs in at a mere 52 pounds – is “overweight.” Not only do his parents claim “there is not an ounce on him,” which can be seen clearly from the picture in the Daily Mail article, but Thomas Watkins swims, engages in Physical Education classes at school twice a week, energetically runs around a football field and “even attends healthy cooking classes in the evening.” Indeed, it was only six months ago that he was allowed his first burger!

Crazy Measuring Method

It seems that the NHS in the UK has come up with The National Child Measurement Programme (run by the Department of Health) to measure and weigh children. But it looks like all this is doing is making the NHS look foolish. That wouldn’t be so bad if that was all it was doing but as Thomas’ parents point out, “this could make children as young as five worry about making themselves thin – when they are fine as it is. It is absolutely crazy.” The system has in place for seven years and is intended to monitor children’s health when they start and leave the primary school system by calculating weight through the BMI.

Flawed System

It’s all very well in theory but clearly – as Thomas Watkins case shows – it doesn’t work in practice since not only does Thomas eat well but he leads an extremely active life as well. Mrs. Watkins thus termed the system “flawed.” Apparently in Thomas’ case this might have happened because the boy is tall, which, in the system deems him overweight. As well, according to Gillian Hamer, a nutritionist, the BMI system is anyway problematic since “it does not distinguish between muscle and fat.” This has even rendered “super fit footballers” as being rendered “overweight” since muscle weighs more than fat. Instead, what should be measured is the waist; that gives a much more accurate picture and would no doubt render Thomas’ initial assessment as completely inaccurate.

About

James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]sunstoneonline.com.

View all posts by