You’ve heard it before – “It’s just puppy fat; they’ll grow out of it”. According to research by experts in childhood obesity, Carnegie Weight Management, has revealed that 40% of parents simply don’t recognise weight problems in children; believing their child’s weight is down to ‘puppy fat’, a ‘fat gene’ or ‘metabolism’1. In reality, the recent results of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) are a stark reminder of the problem. It has been revealed that one in five children are obese when they start school, and of even greater concern are the figures that show one in three 10-11 year-olds are classed as obese.
After the indulgences of the festive season, and with the New Year, there’s no better time for reflection. On Christmas Day alone our children can consume up to a whopping 6,000 calories – that’s four times the recommended daily calorie intake for a five-year-old. These excess calories can take weeks or months to burn off, and in some cases not at all.
According to Director of Carnegie Weight Management, Paul Gately, a tendency to write off extra weight carried by children as ‘puppy fat’ can lead to continuing childhood obesity levels.
“Puppy fat is no longer relevant to our children; they just don’t grow out of it any more. In fact, half of overweight five-year-olds will grow up to be obese adults. I urge parents to seek advice early in order to understand the classifications of overweight and obesity, and access services.
“Increasingly, proactive Primary Care Trusts such as NHS Doncaster are addressing the problems by providing ‘Carnegie Clubs’, weight management programmes aimed at four-year-olds, which seek to reverse this trend early. If habits are altered at five we can reduce adult health implications at all ages.”
Carnegie Weight Management (CWM) is the longest running programme for the treatment of overweight and obese children in Europe, and was pioneered after 10 years of research in the US.
Doncaster NHS are leading the way in fighting the battle against childhood obesity by commissioning weight management services for younger children as part of a £500,000 investment to combat obesity in the area.
Carnegie Clubs are now available for children as young as four and aim to work with parents to combat the misperception of ‘puppy fat’ and promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity for overweight young people and their families.