NHS to treat obese children

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The city that founded Britain's first fat camp will launch NHS surgeries for overweight children today.

The city that founded Britain's first fat camp will launch NHS surgeries for overweight children today.

Paediatricians in Leeds say the surgeries are needed because the health service does not classify overweight children as having a health problem. They are usually too young to display the effects, such as cardiovascular failure and diabetes.

But with one in three Leeds 11-year-olds overweight and one in five obese, the surgeries will try to persuade children as young as nine that the "traffic light rules" of eating (jam and crisps = red for danger; yoghurts and cheese = yellow for all right and cucumber and celery = green for good) are not just for adults.

The first four children booked in are from the poor south Leeds districts of Rothwell, Belle Isle, Middleton and Morley – a contrast to the Leeds Metropolitan University fat camps, aimedd at parents who could afford fees of £350 a week.

"We are making it much harder for ourselves by targeting those who are less affluent and have other headaches," said Dr Mary Rudolf, consultant paediatrician at the University of Leeds, who is introducing the surgeries with the East Leeds Primary Care Trust. "But the parents want them. When first mention was made of the idea, we immediately got [swamped with] telephone calls."

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