Obese children taken into care over health fears

Photo: Stuart Caie

Three obese children have been taken into care by Lewisham social workers over fears for their health, it was reported yesterday.

The youngest is a three year old weighing four stone, which is more than three times the average weight for a child of that age. The others are a 10-year-old at 10 stone, and a 15-year-old at 17 stone.

According to Promoting Healthy Weight in Children and Families Group, the risk of obesity to children in reception year was “not significantly higher” than other London boroughs or the national average.

By year six of school, statistics have shown that the proportion of those at risk was much higher than other London boroughs or the UK at large.

A spokeswoman for Lewisham Council said it applied to the courts “where it is concerned that children may be at risk from significant harm, and these children may also be obese.” She added that obesity was a factor in care proceedings, along with other reasons.

Lewisham Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, a local survey in Lewisham schools found that 12% of children rarely or never ate vegetables and 12% had not had any physical exercise in the previous week.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation has ranked Lewisham as the 39th most deprived borough in England, with some areas specifically ranking in the 20% most deprived.

The same report suggests that that obesity is one of many symptoms of the social effects of deprivation in the area. It claims that “the rates of activities and lifestyle choices that can have a negative impact on health are higher in Lewisham than the national average.” These include eating habits, smoking, substance misuse, and alcohol.

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