Health chiefs have come together to form a unique team to drive down the number of obese children in Great Yarmouth and Waveney - as figures reveal the east coast district has the fifth highest number of overweight youngsters in the country.

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Mum: ‘Team was fantastic’

Brooke Kirk-Riseborough is among the young patients the healthy weight team at the JPH have already helped on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

The five-year-old from Carlton Colville was referred to the scheme by her GP after her parents noticed her clothes were getting too small despite already being a few years out of her age range.

She met with the team who gave her a healthy eating plan and provided her parents with advice and support on being tougher with her eating habits, and how to introduce her to exercise.

Mum Karen, 41, said: “They have made us think differently. Before if Brooke asked for something we’d say ‘yeah’. I suppose we added to the problem because it’s always easy to say yes.

“The help we’ve had has definitely been useful. It’s meant that we are that bit stronger with her about her food now, we’re a lot firmer than we were and we’ve cut down on sweets and biscuits.

“The other important thing is exercise and now we’ve got a trampoline out in the garden, and she spends quite a lot of time out on that.”

Since meeting with the team Brooke has lost half a kilo, lost 7cms from her waist and significantly reduced her Body Mass Index - the calculation that works out if someone’s weight is appropriate for their height.

Miss Riseborough said the team had been “absolutely fantastic” in helping her daughter and had also prompted the rest of the family to take a more healthy approach to food.

More than a quarter of four and five year olds living in the area are now classed as overweight or obese, putting them amongst the heaviest in England.

The area also tips East Anglia’s scales as having the region’s greatest percentage of overweight youngsters with 27.6pc, compared to 21.5pc in Norfolk (not including Yarmouth) and 21.9pc in Suffolk (not including Waveney).

The stark figures, compiled by primary care trust area, also puts NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney above the national average of 22.9pc.

But doctors at the James Paget University Hospital (JPH), in Gorleston, are taking action to try to reduce the numbers, after launching a scheme dedicated to working with overweight children and their families, and helping them slim down.

Childhood obesity is strongly linked to deprivation and health chiefs have recognised parents in areas such as Great Yarmouth and Waveney face “challenges” - including living on low incomes, which may tempt them to chose cheaper, prepared food.

Nurse specialist Mary Haddow is among the JPH team, which includes a dietician, psychologist, personal trainer and nursery nurse, and said they had already started to see “positive” and “encouraging” results.

She said: “What we’re hoping to do is help these children achieve a healthier weight and for the whole family to achieve a healthier lifestyle. It’s not just pushing small kids to lose weight.

“A lot of people don’t realise that the food they’re providing is very high in fat or sugar and is causing a problem. Some don’t know how to move forward and how to change their diets. Just preparing healthier meals is a big part of it.”

Young patients are referred to the Paediatric Healthy Weight Team by their GP, school nurse or health visitor and initially meet with a consultant, dietician and psychologist before leaving with a personal healthy eating and exercise plan.

Support is then given through follow up appointments and, if need be, home visits to ensure patients are “on track” with their programmes.

Families are also offered cooking classes to teach them and give them the confidence to prepare healthy dishes from scratch - rather than relying on prepared foods - and there are plans to introduce a service so parents can go shopping with a member of the team to identify healthy alternatives.

Sister Haddow said the team, which works with children aged two - 18, also aimed to bring together existing healthy lifestyle services to provide a one-stop-shop for families needing support.

And she defended the NHS for providing a service to tackle the area’s childhood obesity problem that some think should be left up to mums and dads to solve.

“I’m sure a lot of people think that it’s up to the parents, but if people need help to get there and need help to change, it needs to be provided. I think it’s ok for us to provide that,” she added.

“Obesity is costing an awful lot of money. By putting something in place for children now we will prevent a larger problem later and hopefully save the NHS a lot of money.”

She admitted slimming down the district was a “big challenge” but hoped by providing a personal plan and listening to families’ individual needs, the team’s work would bring results where previous schemes had failed.

She said: “We started this because we have got such a high obesity rate. We have seen things that haven’t worked and we’re trying to put in something different that will work.

“We’re definitely aiming for prevention; we must treat what we have at the moment but the idea really is prevention.”

34 comments

  • Original reply ethered, but spot-on, Mr T.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • The Presence i agree with your solution, but that would mean the Govt changing the whole benefit system, which even if they had the inclination to do, would take years, and a lot of money to iliment, which in this present climate is not likely. As for home economics, they do that at school, but i agree they should do financial lessons, although i do feel that the parents should also do that. So i believe that to do something is better than doing nothing, hence i applaud the NHS for trying.

    Report this comment

    Mmlci

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • This is not a health issue - it's an issue of thick lazy parenting.It's amazing how these areas of "deprivation" are always the areas containing the fattest people. They also contain the highest incidences of tattoos , stupid names , attack dogs , huge TV's and sofas in front gardens.Not to mention domestic violence & mountains of litter - these people are not deprived , just stupid.

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Well said, and well done for realising there was a problem, and doing something about it. You should be proud of yourself, and ignore people who just criticise through ignorance of your situation, whatever that may be. Not everyone has those opinions

    Report this comment

    Mmlci

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Meze wouldn`t even touch the sides with these people. They eat too much, sit around too much, do nothing much. They love it. Walking fossil fuel.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • When I was a baby boomer they use to worry you were too thin and used to give you the delights of a weekly does of malt extract. Now we have a national scandal of young people and young adults being overweight. Walk down any high street and you will see plenty of telly tubbys who do not seem at all embarrassed by their triple gastric bands. (Follow them and their off spring around the supermarket and one look in their trolleys will tell you why). The problem of obesity is predominantly amongst the less well off. So why, instead of them buying rubbish food full of sugar and fat to make it taste good, takeaways, filled rolls etc don`t they cook proper meals and save a fortune into the bargain.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • I am pleased to see this work by the Paediatric Healthy Weight Team. Health education has an important rôle, but the task is enormous - in every sense! The budget available is never going to even approach the marketing budgets of the likes of McDonald's and Coca Cola who, ironically, are major sponsors of the Olympics. These companies are embedded in our national life, and that in itself must give the impression of 'official' approval of their products. I have been taken to task on this subject previously by posters who say that 'junk' food is fine in moderation. Of course it is, but for many people its consumption is their daily diet, not an occasional treat. The multiplicity of fast-food outlets in towns and cities all over the country would never survive if people were using them only now and then. Children should be shown healthy eating in school, but ultimately it is difficult for them to control their own diet. They do not do the food-shopping or pay for the take-aways.

    Report this comment

    point du jour

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

  • The fat gals of GY always seem to have a skinny pothead and potless male accompanying them, as they head towards McDonald's with their chubby chavvy brats.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Strange, I make a valid comment about this article which also questioned statistics in the media and it gets bounced! Why? Anyway I would question the fact that 22.9% of 4&5 year olds are obese or overweight. Another survey based on a disproportionate sample size or selective areas for sensationalism?

    Report this comment

    EdChed

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • I cannot disagree with any of that, Dick Turnip. On a recent visit to Gross Yarmouth, I popped into a large hostelry for a pint. As a chunky little pensioner, I suddenly felt rejuvenated - I`m relatively thin!! Then 3 spherical blokes waddled in and were soon to tuck in to mammoth portions of "All-day breakfast" aka heart attack on a plate. At 11.45am. I mean, childrens` role models in these parts are roll models. I`ve never seen so many grotesquely overweight people in one room at the same time. A Michelin Man festival. Horrendous. Is there any hope?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • BTW, is that photo an anterior or posterior view? An interesting (adi)pose. Animals are bilaterally symmetrical, plants radially symmetrical. So these obese people are vegetables, surely?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • It is of course important in one way but for general debate I don't think we need worry too much about how accurate the statistics are. It's so obvious there are far too many overweightobese children. Graham1986 is correct that we must be careful not to make assumptions because there can be medical reasons for the problem for some. However, bad parenting in allowing children to be lazy and parents being just as bad does play a big part. Why do so many parents do the school run and take children everywhere by car? For me, running home from school in pouring rain with my friends, laughing at our predicament was part of the joy of childhood. And why are carveries so popular with adults, who tend to take children with them? It's because they're cheap and you can pile your plate up. The size of some adults and children you see piling up their plates. Why do caferestaurant owners fear they will miss out if they don't offer an all day full English breakfast?

    Report this comment

    oultonbroadman

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

  • Whilst the above comments display people's attitude, it is interesting to note that none offer an alternative solution. I applaud the JPH trust for taking a more pro-active approach to dealing with this problem, rather than judging the people involved, and spending the millions later dealing with the associated problems that will inevitably occur. Millions are spent on treating drug addicts and alcoholics, which are lifestyle choices made by people. Obesity is a very complex area to deal with, but one that can't be ignored. We simply have to do something and not just sit back and chastise the people affected.

    Report this comment

    Mmlci

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Strange, I make a valid comment about this article which also questioned statistics in the media and it gets bounced! Why? Anyway I would question the fact that 22.9% of 4&5 year olds are obese or overweight. Another survey based on a disproportionate sample size or selective areas for sensationalism?

    Report this comment

    EdChed

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • An easy alternative answer for you. Fruit and vegetable vouchers instead of benefits. That way those that work get cash to spend on whatever tripe they want to eat. Home economics classes and finincial management lessons at schools to teach everyone how to budget better and cook healthier. I look forwards to a response mmici.

    Report this comment

    ThePresence

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • With people getting bigger and bigger why haven't the clothing manufacturers jumped on the band wagon as they could actually help the situation, why should a trim female size 8-10 have to pay the same amount for a dress or jacket that a over weight size 20+ pays? Charge for clothes by the material used, or metre. That may make people think twice if they had to pay for being grossly overweight, they may also take up less space on the busses.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

  • According to the report, 22.9% is the national average for overweight or obese 45 year olds! If that is true this country is in for a shocking future. My only slight reservation is the appalling way statistics are manipulated in the media, can these be believed?

    Report this comment

    EdChed

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Agree with all the comments below, what amazes me is, if these obese children were dogs or cats that had been overfed and allowed to get into this condition the owners would have been prosecuted, why doesn't the same apply to parents of children who suffer the same fate, surely it is child cruelty.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • And in order for that to happen you need to educate people on what is healthy and deal with the reason for the over eating, which is perhaps the most difficult thing. Again if you compare to a drug addict, it's easy not to be one, just don't take the drugs. However we all know it's not that simple because you have to deal with all of the associated psychological problems that are at the root of the problem

    Report this comment

    Mmlci

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • The problems you get when Mcdonalds is cheaper than Meze huh?

    Report this comment

    ThePresence

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • I tried to reply Mr. Turnip. Suffice it to say, I agree 100%. The Ar-chant Moderators must have morphed into Fat Controllers. You never know, my effort may re-emerge from the ether.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • What's so complex about ingesting far more calories & fat than you burn? It's very simple - eat less , eat better , exercise more!

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • I admit I do not see too many children in that age bracket in the GY area these days, but I can't say I have noticed an epidemic of obesity. I would be more concerned about the level of low birth weights attributable to maternal deprivation, smoking, alcohol intake since it is known that low birth weight can have an impact on the future health and intelligence of a child. I am inclined to say I see more "runtish" unhealthy looking children in GY than I see porkers.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • I tried to reply Mr. Turnip. Suffice it to say, I agree 100%. The Ar-chant Moderators must have morphed into Fat Controllers. You never know, my effort may re-emerge from the ether.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • I too would question the bodymass calculations if they are still based on the original Victorian measurements. Anyone noticed how if you are in amongst a lot of Swedish or Danish kids or even affluent kids they are so much taller than British working class children? This has been attributed to a healthier maternal diet in pregnancy. Birth weights are soaring-5lb or so was the norm when I was born, now 8 and 9lbs is common. Diet advice should not be focussing on keeping kids thin, but feeding them well so they grow properly and are healthy. So yes, cut out the fast foods but not necessarily for a low fat low protein diet.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

  • Strange, I make a valid comment about this article which also questioned statistics in the media and it gets bounced! Why? Anyway I would question the fact that 22.9% of 4&5 year olds are obese or overweight. Another survey based on a disproportionate sample size or selective areas for sensationalism?

    Report this comment

    EdChed

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Whilst the above comments display people's attitude, it is interesting to note that none offer an alternative solution. I applaud the JPH trust for taking a more pro-active approach to dealing with this problem, rather than judging the people involved, and spending the millions later dealing with the associated problems that will inevitably occur. Millions are spent on treating drug addicts and alcoholics, which are lifestyle choices made by people. Obesity is a very complex area to deal with, but one that can't be ignored. We simply have to do something and not just sit back and chastise the people affected.

    Report this comment

    Mmlci

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • It has to be down to the parents. Nobody can honestly expect us to believe that they have got the age when they can have children and are not aware of what is good to eat and what makes you fat! Living in Lowestoft, it is sad to walk down the street sometimes and see the size of the adults and their children. This is abuse and it should be looked at in this way, the same as other child abuse

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Saturday, July 7, 2012

  • Thanks for that mmici nobody is perfect although clearly that person is although they have far too much time to spend sitting on the computer faulting others. i still see it as a well done to my little girl us and the team that were there to offer brilliant help and support.

    Report this comment

    Graham1986

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • @EdChed - I agree that the statistics might be questionable for young children on several grounds. Sadly the state of affairs is all too apparent in the streets for older teenagers and adults - although I realise that's merely anecdotal!

    Report this comment

    point du jour

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

  • How did that happen, I only posted once?

    Report this comment

    EdChed

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Whilst i am aware that each and everyone of you are entitled to your own opinion i just so happen to be the parent of Brooke the little girl in the story today i am certainly not a bad parent it is not up to any of you to judge without knowing me i would have classed myself as a bad parent for not addressing the issue the story was nothing to do with either good or bad parenting have you not completely misread it this comment is mainly for Mr Turnip but also anybody that are judging us

    Report this comment

    Graham1986

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Is cooking still taught in schools? A basic understanding may help encourage the kids to cook for themselves later in life instead of letting their food be produced in a factory and supplied in plastic and cardboard. I teach my kids (even though still young) cooking at every opportunity and grow basic veg with them in the garden.

    Report this comment

    EdChed

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

  • I tend to agree with the lazy parenting aspect, that along with a general lack of nutritional education. Children should learn at school (and at home with their parents) all about food and the preparation of a healthy meal (which a lot of the time can be cheaper than eating the processed rubbish!) I also find it amazing how the people that are "unable to afford" to eat properly are the same people with Sky tv, Cars etc. they don't seem to have reversed the old food, shelter then luxuries way of life!

    Report this comment

    Focus1

    Monday, July 2, 2012

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