News

NICE issues standard on preventing obesity and lifestyle weight management for children and young people

A quality standard to help prevent children and young people becoming overweight or obese has been published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Being overweight may result in a child experiencing self-esteem and quality of life problems, leading to depression.  Obesity is linked to type 2 diabetes in children and young people, which was until recent years found almost entirely in adults. In 2013/14 in England, more than 1 in 5 children aged 4 to 5 years at the start of primary school were overweight or obese rising to more than 1 in 3 among children aged 10 to 11 years.

The new standard aims to support high-quality weight management and obesity prevention interventions being provided to benefit children and young people, including lifestyle weight management.   It is expected to contribute to improving outcomes in areas including dietary habits, excess weight in children and young people under 18 years and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children and young people.

Professor Gill Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, said: “Families and carers have an important role in supporting children and young people who are overweight or obese, which this standard recognises.  Lifestyle and weight management programmes can support parents and carers to identify changes that can be made at home to tackle obesity and maintained over the long-term. These changes include healthy eating and getting the whole family to be more active. Tackling obesity in children and young people also benefits their future health. Up to 79% of children who are obese in their teens are likely to be obese adults, which can lead to health problems in adulthood such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. The quality statements set out the effective actions that should be taken to prevent and manage obesity in children and young people.”

The quality statements include:

  • Children and young people, and their parents or carers, using vending machines in local authority and NHS venues can buy healthy food and drink options
  • Children and young people, and their parents or carers, see details of nutritional information on menus at local authority and NHS venues
  • Children and young people, and their parents or carers, see healthy food and drink choices displayed prominently in local authority and NHS venues
  • Children and young people identified as being overweight or obese, and their parents or carers as appropriate, are given information about local lifestyle weight management programmes.

(News Release issued by NICE July 2015)