Promoting Healthier Child Growth Care pathway
The epidemic of childhood obesity in the UK is associated with a major burden of physical and psychological morbidity and early mortality. This epidemic is one of the most daunting public health threats facing the UK and presents a potential health time bomb that threatens to reverse gains made in longevity made over the last 100 years. Two recent reports (Wanless and Foresight) have provided dire warnings that without significant improvements in efforts to tackle childhood obesity, the future of the NHS is in jeopardy. The Foresight report concluded that preventing obesity requires major change in the environment, behaviour; in organisations, communities, families and individuals.
Childhood obesity has major impact on health and wellbeing in childhood and through to adult life. Obese children experience poor health related quality of life and low self-esteem and are at increased risk of hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes. Half of obese children grow up to be obese adults at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancers. The National Audit Office estimated in 2001 that obesity is responsible for 9,000 deaths each year in England and reduces life expectancy by on average 9 years.
Children of South Asian origin in the UK are growing up with particularly high risks of developing central obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is estimated that approximately 40% of South Asian adults have diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance and there is evidence to suggest that this higher risk begins in childhood or even from birth. In addition to ethnic disparities, social class differs significantly in the prevalence of obesity, particularly in women. The Health Survey for England showed that 14% of men and women in professional groups were obese compared to 28% of women in unskilled manual occupations.
The aim of this care pathway was to improve the early identification of overweight and obesity in children and promote improved self-monitoring and school and health care support