Support Is Available For Lincolnshire Families Seeking Healthy Lifestyles

Support is available for Lincolnshire families seeking healthy lifestyles.

The school nurses in Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust carry out the National Child Measurement Programme every year for the Department of Health. The programme weighs and measures children in reception and Year 6 with parental consent and identifies the child as underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese. Data from these measurements, which is submitted to NHS England, provides a valuable source of information for national and local plans and programmes to support healthy weight amongst school-aged children in England.

As part of NCMP, where a child is identified as overweight or obese, parents will receive a letter that offers them the opportunity to discuss the measurements with a school nurse or request additional support from their local school nursing team. The team of trained nurses can provide parents and children with a healthy weight support programme or offer referral to a local group activity like Fit Kids, a Lincolnshire-based programme for children aged 4-11 years and their families that encourages healthy eating and active lifestyles.

In readiness for the next round of measurements - commencing in September - school nurses in Lincolnshire are reviewing and developing a new programme that will be proactive in supporting the families of children who are considered overweight or obese. One part of the new programme will involve making contact with the parents once their child has been weighed, measured and assessed as potentially overweight or obese. This initial telephone contact will offer support to parents ahead of the letter informing them of their child's measurements. School nurses will then discuss the measurements with the parents and any potential health issues or risks associated with being overweight or obese and the opportunity for support in making healthy changes.

Wendy Burton, Locality Lead for Families and Healthy Lifestyles at LCHS, said: "I think it's really important to acknowledge that ensuring the whole family eat healthily and get enough exercise is a challenge when combining our busy lives with all the temptations of convenience foods and snacks available."

"The School Nursing Service can offer families much needed support and advice, and perhaps some new ideas on how to ensure our children grow into healthy adults."

For families seeking additional support, school nurses are available to meet one-on-one with the parents, the child, or the family as a whole in a confidential setting to provide education and guidance for healthy meal planning, nutrition and suggestions for activity-based programmes available in Lincolnshire. In addition to providing advice on healthy eating plans for the children, school nurses want to ensure that parents are also being supported. In addition to the one-on-one sessions, school nurses can also refer parents to Weight Watchers as part of Making Every Contact Count (MECC), an initiative that encourages conversations based on behavioural change and empowering healthy lifestyle choices.

For anyone seeking help or advice from the service to achieve a healthy weight for their school-aged child, please do not hesitate to contact your local school nursing team. Contact details and information are available on the LCHS website.