A mother has been left furious after hospital staff labelled her toddler obese and told her she needed to enroll him on a fitness course.
Kelly Kinsella, 27, took her son to Manchester Hospital for him to be weighed and measured as part of the Government’s Healthy Child Programme.
But the parent was enraged after being told her two-year-old needed to slim down when he tipped the scales at two and a half stone (16.4kg).
‘My son is not obese. Yes he might have chunky thighs and arms but there isn’t a bit of fat n his belly,’ Mrs Kinsella said.
Kelly Kinsella, 27, took her son to Manchester Hospital for him to be weighed and measured as part of the Government’s Healthy Child Programme
She said: ‘When the nurse told me about Kean being deemed obese, I could feel my temperature rising as I was fuming about what was being said.
A spokesman for Manchester City Council said the health checks are a part of a nationwide government programme and are there to spot any potential problems rather than to ‘criticise parents or label children’.
But the anger mother said: ‘I stopped her before she even told me more about this fitness course it was just so ridiculous. I refused to take away any paperwork aswe won’t be doing the course.’
Mrs Kinsella, who lives in Moston, north Manchester, with her children and husband Stuart, said the family all have a healthy diet and Kean is an active little boy.
Happy chappy: Two-year-old Kean weighs two and a half stone (16.4kg)
She said: ‘He eats lots of veg, he loves broccoli and cauliflower and carrots. He eats steamed fish with veg and if he does have chips every now and then he’ll always have it with something healthy like chicken.
‘He doesn’t eat crisps or chocolate – only once in a blue moon – and he loves his apples, bananas and oranges.
‘She told me about the course offering advice on how to keep children healthy and motivated, but he’s in nursery and he’s never still. Anyone who knows him knows that he was walking at 10 months old and could kick a ball independently at 11 months, he’s always on the move.’
The mother of three said she’s worried about the message the health checks send out, particularly to older children who are more anxious over their appearance.
Mrs Kinsella, who lives in Moston, north Manchester, with her children and husband Stuart, said the family all have a healthy diet and Kean is an active little boy
She said: ‘My 12-year-old stepdaughter is very self conscious over the way she looks and the fact that they are starting to tell children at such a young age that they are obese is a disgrace.
‘I have never heard of something so stupid and I can’t believe the government thinks this is right.
‘There are children starving, people homeless and all sorts of problems going on and they’re bothered about a child’s BMI, it’s pathetic.’
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for carrying out the checks, which are commissioned by Manchester Council with criteria set by the Department of Health.
It’s not the first time children’s weight checks have faced criticism, with parents saying the criteria used to judge kids is outdated.
Last year Bolton mum Katy Mee was sent a letter after her son Charlie was checked using the National Child Measurement Programme.
A spokesman for Manchester City Council said the health checks are a part of a nationwide government programme and are there to spot any potential problems rather than to ‘criticise parents or label children’
It branded the seven stone 11-year-old ‘overweight’ and claimed he could possibly face a range of health problems in the future.
Ms Mee, from Horwich, described the letter as ‘laughable’.
The government’s Healthy Child Programme document outlines a number of suggestions that should be made to families with a child confirmed as overweight or obese.
These include ‘individual counselling and ongoing support of positive lifestyle changes’ and ‘interventions, depending on the age and maturity of the child’.
A spokesperson for the hospital trust said as ‘the programme is commissioned by Manchester City Council but the checks themselves determined by the Department of Health’ it would not be appropriate for them to comment.
Despite the government setting the guidelines for the checks, a spokesman for Public Health England said it was a matter for the council.
A Manchester council spokesperson said: ‘It’s important parents take children for their regular progress checks to assess their general health and wellbeing and help identify any potential issues so these be addressed as soon as possible.
‘It’s not about criticising parents or labelling children, just about working together to keep children healthy.’