Monitoring trends in childhood obesity: A simple school-based model

R. S. Levine, R. G. Feltbower, A. M. Connor, M. Robinson, M. C.J. Rudolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The UK Government has set a target of halting the rise in childhood obesity by 2010. However, at the time the target was set, no monitoring process existed. The English Department of Health has now issued guidelines to primary care trusts for the annual weighing and measuring of all children on entry to primary school and in year 6. Aim: Development of an inexpensive school-based monitoring scheme for trends in childhood obesity suitable for national implementation. Method: The methodology was developed in 10 pilot schools in 2004 and implemented in 25 primary schools and three secondary schools in 2005. Specially trained healthcare support workers (HCSWs) recorded height and weight measurements of primary school children in reception and year 4, and secondary school children in year 8 (aged 5, 8 and 13 years, respectively, on average). The ethnic and socio-economic profile of the sample was compared with census data, and the levels of obesity were calculated using standard age cut-offs. Results: While monitoring in primary schools was achieved with no evidence of disruption to the schools or distress to the subjects, monitoring in secondary schools was deemed to be impractical. Cost analysis indicated an estimated cost of less than £1.50 per primary school child measured. Conclusions: The model provides a viable means of monitoring childhood obesity trends. Monitoring should be confined to primary schools and should be conducted by specially trained HCSWs rather than school nurses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-260
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood obesity
  • Monitoring


Dive into the research topics of 'Monitoring trends in childhood obesity: A simple school-based model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this