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Calls to withdraw 'inappropriate' letter to obese children's parents

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A childhood obesity expert has called on the Government to withdraw an “inappropriate” letter to parents telling them their child is overweight.

The Obesity Forum’s Tam Fry has written to the Department of Health saying the letters were based on computer records of body measurements rather than professional analysis by nurses.

One danger he points out is that more active, taller children could misleadingly be classed as overweight because of muscle weight.

Mr Fry said: “There must be thousands of these letters being sent to families across the country.

“The damage is incalculable because they are told their child is fat and they should do something about it. They may well panic about their child’s weight which might be quite inappropriate.

“All of this could have been avoided by the Department of Health thinking seriously about what the letter is saying. It’s totally inappropriate and should now be withdrawn and re-written.”

Mr Fry, who is also chairman of The Child Growth Foundation, added many tall children who are active could be classed as overweight because muscle weighs one-and-a-half times more than fat.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “No parent wants to see their child grow up to be overweight or obese, let alone develop diabetes or cancer because of it.

“To take action now, mums and dads rightly want to know whether their child is a healthy weight so the family can make positive changes.”

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