‘I would be livid’ - Readers’ reaction to letter accusing Costessey girl, 5, of being ‘overweight’

Fit and healthy Harriet Jackson, whose mother Hannah received a letter telling her Harriet is overwe

Fit and healthy Harriet Jackson, whose mother Hannah received a letter telling her Harriet is overweight.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Here is how you reacted to the row which broke out over an NHS letter accusing an active five-year-old from Costessey of being 'overweight'.

Harriet Jackson had her weight and height measured in her reception class at Little Melton Primary School last month, and this week a letter dropped through her door in Queen's Hills in Costessey.

The letter noted Harriet was 3ft 9ins tall and weighed 3 stone 9lbs and our readers were quick to condemn the decision to the send the letter and voiced their disapproval on our website and Facebook page.

•Commenting on Facebook, Emma Hunt said, 'I would be absolutely livid if I received this letter. I bet if a doctor assessed her properly they would say she was perfectly healthy and a perfect size, but because she doesn't fit neatly into one of their silly little tables she's classified as overweight! I can appreciate they are trying to ensure we keep our children healthy but they really should be more careful, things like this can have a massive impact.'

•Claire Carter had been sent a similar letter and completely ignored it, she commented: 'They said the exact same thing about my son. He was 9lb 2oz at birth and always been on the higher centile on growth charts. He is very tall but very slender.

'At nine years he is in age 10-11 clothes for the length but its difficult finding trousers that fit his waist. He has size four feet. I completely ignored the letter I received from the school check saying he was overweight.


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'There isn't an ounce of fat on him and he's very active playing for a football team, riding bikes and walking. I hate it when these checks deem a child wrong in someway because they don't fit a particular box or line. Ignore it and do what you know is best.'

•Zoe Whiting had also received letters for her children, she said 'I have two children and when both of my children were in reception class they had this done and both times each of my children's letters said they were overweight. I was fuming as they are far from overweight, I am just glad the children don't know anything about this as it could cause a lot of problems.'

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•Commenting on the Eastern Daily Press website, Colin Nixon criticised the use of BMI saying: 'This young lady looks a similar build to my son at that age. He was already active and as he grew he took up karate, football and cycling. However, although it was mostly muscle, he looked a bit of a solid lump until he hit puberty.

'Then his shape changed, his chest deepened, his shoulders broadened and his waist developed. I fail to see why it is necessary to apply basic rule of thumb, such as the BMI calculation, unless the child is an inactive blob. General guidance about nutrition and exercise should be all that is needed; implying a child of this age is fat or overweight based solely on BMI is both misleading and insulting. Stay active Harriet and prove them all wrong!'

•Another reader, Alexander Jackson questioned the accuracy of figures on childhood obesity. 'Actually in the week the sugar tax has been announced, the girl does not look overweight at all, are the national child obesity figures wrong and is the problem as bad as said? If they labelling this girl overweight then the collated figures are clearly wrong. Surely the government wouldn't mislead the public?'

•Donna Mckenna condemned the way the letter labelled children, commenting 'Children are given lots of inappropriate 'labels' these days. All children are different in size, weight and mind. The difference is recognising which children need help instead of labelling children under the same umbrella of obese when they clearly are not! My son got the same letter and I couldn't see any fat on him at all.'

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