Wednesday, November 21, 2007

British kids to get obesity letters

LONDON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A new heathcare bill in England authorizes the distribution of letters detailing children's height and weight as part of the fight against childhood obesity.

Parents of children ages 5-10 will receive letters outlining their child's height and weight to be input into an online "fat check" in an effort to determine the onset of obesity, The Telegraph said Saturday.

The new program is part of the Health and Social Care bill promoting healthy lifestyles and directing families to dietary recommendations and local services.

Critics complain the letters are invasive, but proponents cite current trends suggesting nearly a quarter of children in England may be clinically obese by 2050, the British newspaper reported.

"We want to ensure that parents are aware of the options available to them so that they can take responsibility for choosing the most suitable ways to support their child in achieving a healthy weight," a spokesman for the Department of Health said in the Telegraph.