A Tayside-wide service which helps young people to manage their weight has marked its fifth year in operation.
With more than 20 per cent of five-year-olds in Scotland reported to be clinically overweight or obese, the Paediatric Overweight Service Tayside (POST) aims to help keep children’s weight at a healthy level.
POST is a free NHS service which works with families to support children and young people in the unhealthy weight category, aged between two and 15 years, to manage their weight.
In the last five years, more than 850 children and young people have been referred to the service, with three quarters of those deciding to take part in the programmes on offer in Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross.
Dr Laura Stewart, team lead for the project, said: “We work closely with schools to promote healthy eating and healthy weight using a whole school approach.
“Our Fun Fit Tayside programme was developed with teachers and over 5,000 primary school children from 99 schools have enjoyed it. A secondary school programme is ready to be tested out later this year.
“Our three main messages are to encourage children to eat fewer high fat and sugary foods and drinks, to include some active time in their day and to restrict their screen time.”
The POST team works to break down barriers as some parents are anxious and reluctant to take the first step and approach the service as they may feel guilty about their child’s weight or worried that they might be blamed.
Laura added: “Our service is absolutely not about blame and our team of experienced and friendly practitioners are there to offer support to both parent and child throughout their journey.
“Our experience is that a healthy child is a happy child, so parents shouldn’t be worried about asking for help.”
The service is also backed by round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont and Andy Bell, sports therapist with the Dundee Stars ice hockey team.
Referrals to the service can be made by any professional working with a child or young person such as a GP, school nurse or social worker, or parents can contact POST on 01738 473784 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.