Plan to weigh Irish kids at school to stop childhood obesity 7 years ago

Plan to weigh Irish kids at school to stop childhood obesity

One Irish doctor has a novel idea to stamp out childhood obesity; weigh the kids on their first day of school.

Do you remember your first day at school? The crying, the screaming, the big red face; you thought your mother would never go home and stop embarrasing you.

But now it has been suggested that a weigh-in could be part of the first day at school for Irish kids. Really.

At the IMO conference, Dr Edna Roche, consultant paediatric endocrinologist at Tallaght Hospital and head of paediatrics at Trinity College suggested the measure as a way to monitor if kids were already getting too big.

If they were found to be overweight, the kid could then be referred to their GP or an obesity specialist before things got too bad, hopefully saving the child, and the State, a lot of expense and hassle down the line.

The idea is being discussed by the HSE and it seems that some form of weight monitoring is about to become as normal a part of school life as snotty noses, untied laces and 40-a-side games of football.

Dr Clíodhna Foley-Nolan, director of human health and nutrition at Safefood, is quoted in the Irish Examiner as another advocate of the move, though perhaps not on the very first day in the education system.

"I am not sure the first day of school would be the best time, but we need to monitor children’s weight," said Foley-Nolan, who went on to comapre any weigh-ins to eye tests or any other essential monitoring of young people's health.

Would this work? At four, there wouldn’t be any slagging but if the weigh-ins continue, Operation Transformation-style, as the kids get older then it could become an issue.

However with 20 per cent of 5-17 year olds overweight in Ireland, the problem has to be tackled. At least they're thinking about it.