School nurses reject weighing children

The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association
rejected MPs’ calls this week to measure children’s body mass index
(BMI) every year in a drive to reduce obesity.

Pat Jackson, the association’s professional officer for school
health, warned that measuring schoolchildren’s BMI would not work
in isolation.

A report by the House of Commons health select committee suggests
that children’s BMI ought to be measured in school and the results
sent to parents, along with dietary and exercise advice.

But Jackson warned that turning school nurses into “screeners”
would take them away from other preventive work in public health.
She also questioned what follow-up there would be for the many
children with a high BMI.

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