The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) is a national programme led by PHE and delivered by local authorities. The programme involves the measurement of height and weight of children in Reception Year (4-5 years old) and Year 6 (10-11 years old), which is used to calculate the child’s body mass index (BMI).B

The NCMP services two key purposes:

  1. to provide robust public health surveillance data on child weight status for monitoring obesity prevalence and trends, both locally and nationally
  2. to provide parents with feedback on their child’s weight status to support and encourage individual behaviour change as appropriate.3

The programme is mandated in every state-maintained primary and middle school (including academy and free schools) and encouraged in non-state-maintained and special schools where possible. While parents should have the opportunity to withdraw their child from participating, prior explicit parental consent is not required under the Local Authority Regulations. 4

For those in need of additional support, a 12 week group-based healthy lifestyle family-focused programme is funded by the local authority, working in partnership with the NCMP. One-to-one provision is only provided if needed.

 

 

Notes

  1. The BMI of a child cannot be interpreted using the same thresholds as in adults as normal growth patterns mean that a healthy BMI is age and sex dependent. Instead, a child’s BMI is compared to centiles of a reference population of over 32,000 children measured between 1978 and 1994. The British 1990 growth reference (UK90) defines underweight as below the 2nd centile, overweight as above the 85th centile (population monitoring) or 91st centile (clinical assessment) and obese as above the 95th centile (population monitoring) or 98th centile (clinical assessment).
  2. The BMI of a child cannot be interpreted using the same thresholds as in adults as normal growth patterns mean that a healthy BMI is age and sex dependent. Instead, a child’s BMI is compared to centiles of a reference population of over 32,000 children measured between 1978 and 1994. The British 1990 growth reference (UK90) defines underweight as below the 2nd centile, overweight as above the 85th centile (population monitoring) or 91st centile (clinical assessment) and obese as above the 95th centile (population monitoring) or 98th centile (clinical assessment).

References

  1. “National Child Measurement Programme Operational Guidance,” Public Health England, 2014.
  2. “The Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013,” legislation.gov.uk, 2013.
  3. “National Child Measurement Programme Operational Guidance,” Public Health England, 2014.
  4. “The Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013,” legislation.gov.uk, 2013.