Childhood Obesity Clinics

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I arrived home on Tuesday – after working in North Bristol (club before school for targeted children with low fitness levels), and then Slough (refresher sessions before school delivery of fitness badge system to 960 x 7-11 year olds in Europe’s largest primary school) – excited. I bounced into the living room, ‘There is six million available to support obese children. Six thousand per child. This evidences a new seriousness at government level. I need to get into a room with these people.’ 

My partner’s reply, ‘Sounds great, but we both know they want to listen to researchers in universities, more than to you.’ I used this retort to claim I need more emotional support from her to do what I do. She said, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve had a rubbish day. I’ve worked from home, mainly eaten cake and smarties and because of my cough I haven’t been able to exercise.’ Tomorrow my partner will eat more healthily. She will do this because she will exercise. This exercise will build fitness and enhance her mood. This enhanced mood will result in less cake and smartie eating. 

In response to this week’s childhood obesity clinic funding announcement, Professor Julian Hamilton-Shield at the Bristol hospital said, ‘Using a team of experts from many disciplines, including specialist dieticians, social support workers, and mental health professionals, we can pinpoint the exact causes of weight gain and create tailored treatment plans for each child.’ Yes, we need joined up thinking. 

As we know children with higher physical fitness enjoy better school attendance, academic learning, alertness, resilience, social and mental health, physical activity engagement, short term positive feelings, long term physiological benefits, posture, balance and self-esteem, a key part of these new obesity clinics must also be exercise referral linking to and celebrating fitness progression. 

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