This site is intended for health professionals only

Encourage children to grow into their weight, GPs told

GPs should encourage children to grow into their weight, recommends new NICE guidance designed to tackle the ‘obesity time bomb’ in British children.

The new guidance says that GPs and other health professionals should provide ongoing support to children undergoing weight management programmes, including sometimes acknowledging that children who are still growing do not need to lose weight.

It also says that providers of community lifestyle weight management programmes for children should make sure that overweight children thought to have mental wellbeing issues are referred to their GP for assessment.

The guidance says: ‘They should acknowledge that for children who are growing taller, avoiding further weight gain is a realistic short-term aim that can have a positive impact in the longer term.’

‘For young people who are no longer growing taller, ultimately they need to lose weight to improve their body mass index (BMI), and they should also aim to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to make long-term behaviour changes.’

Lifestyle weight management services for children and young people, NICE Pathway, October 2013