NHS to provide ‘diet coaches’ for children who are obese

Obesity crisis – diet coaches to help children as young as two

The NHS will open more specialist obesity clinics for children as young as two to help tackle the obesity crisis.

The clinics will help families improve the diet and lifestyle of thousands of children as hospital admissions linked to weight increase.

New figures from NHS England show that 9,431 children with obesity were admitted to hospital in England in 2021/22, compared to 3,370 in 2011/12.

New clinics will open this year and will provide ‘intensive’ support to thousands of obese children and their families.

A spokesperson said around 3,000 obese children and young people aged between two and 18 will receive help to lose weight and treatment for complications. They will also receive tailored care packages developed with their family, which could include diet plans, mental health care and coaching.

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‘A real pressure’

Speaking at the annual NHS Confed Expo conference in Manchester tomorrow, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard will say: ‘Obesity can lead to a string of serious illnesses such as cancer and diabetes – bringing a terrible human cost, and also a real pressure on the NHS.

‘Doing nothing now is not an option and so these new clinics will bring together a range of experts in one place providing intensive – but sensitive – physical and mental support for thousands of young people and their families.’

Backed by £18 million over the next two years, the boosted rollout doubles the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan to introduce 15 new clinics in England.

Research shows that the number of children living with severe obesity doubles from the start of primary school to the end of primary school.

Weight loss jabs

This comes as the NHS announces it will pilot weight loss jabs over the next two years in a bid to tackle the obesity crisis across the UK.

The pilot will explore ways to make obesity drugs accessible to patients living with obesity outside of hospital settings.

According to the government release, there is evidence from clinical trials that – when prescribed alongside diet, physical activity and behavioural support – people taking a weight-loss drug can lose up to 15% of their body weight after one year.

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