Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT)’s Healthy Together 0-19 public health team has created a short film about the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). The film aims to give parents more information about the programme, and to signpost them to the support which is available to help families make healthy lifestyle choices.

The NCMP measures the height and weight of children in reception class (aged 4 to 5 years) and year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years). It gives an objective picture of how children are growing, and provides data which can be used locally and nationally to inform public health initiatives and the planning and delivery of services for children and families.

A boy being weighed as part of the National Child Measurement Programme.

Currently a third of children are overweight, and unfortunately many children who are overweight or obese at age 12 will continue to struggle to maintain a healthy weight as adults. That means they will be at greater risk of developing serious conditions later in life such as cardio vascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers. However, making simple lifestyle changes and establishing habits that promote healthy eating and being active from a young age, make a significant difference to children’s health and self-esteem.

The film, which is available on LPT’s Health for Kids website, features a GP, public health nurse (school nurse) and a dietitian. As well as explaining the rationale behind the programme, and providing information about how the measurements are carried out in school, the film also informs parents and carers about the different ways they can get in touch with a public health nurse (school nurse), and gives details about free Family Lifestyle Clubs which run across Leicester City and Leicestershire.

Sarah Fenwick, service group manager at LPT said: “We are all too aware that receiving the NCMP results letter comes as a real shock for some parents. We wanted to provide more information around the measurement process itself and to explain the rationale behind the programme. Creating this short film also enabled us to emphasise to families that lots of support is available through Healthy Together, and that small lifestyle changes can make a massive impact to children’s overall health and wellbeing.”

In addition to the film, parents can also visit the Health for Kids website for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about NCMP, advice on how to keep children physically fit, and fun, interactive games for children to play, such as the ‘Food for Thought’ quiz.