By Jaya Narain
Sports mad, always full of energy and certainly not fat, five-year-old Lucy Davies’ parents had no concern about her health.
But when she was examined at school as part of a Government initiative to turn the rising tide of obesity, they were shocked to be told that she was ‘overweight and unhealthy.’
They said Lucy may have an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer as her body mass index (BMI) was outside recommended guidelines by just one per cent.
Lucy is 3ft 9ins tall and weighs 3st 9lbs – which is itself within the recommended healthy range for a five-year-old child.
Her mother, Susan Davies, 38, said she was shocked by the letter she and husband Tony were sent about their daughter’s weight.
‘I couldn’t believe what I was reading,’ she said.
Lucy is five-years-old and not fat in the slightest. She shouldn’t even be thinking about her weight at her age.
‘I want her to be running around playing and having fun, not worrying about what she looks like.’
National Child Measurement Programme is being carried out in schools across the UK and results are calculated by taking into account height, weight and age.
Mrs Davies, a mother-of-four from Poole, Dorset, received the letter which said: ‘The results suggest your child is overweight.’
It added that this can have ‘implications on health and wellbeing’ and listed a catalogue of serious medical conditions her daughter may later suffer from.
Special BMI figures for children are used to determine whether a child is overweight or obese given their age.
In Lucy’s case she missed out on being placed in the healthy category by just one percentile point.
Confusingly, separate guidelines tell parents what a healthy weight is for their height.
Last night eating disorder experts condemned the letter saying the new initiative needed to show more common sense.
A spokeswoman for eating disorder charity BEAT said: ‘More common sense needs to be applied in these situations. It is really taking things to extremes.
‘Children at a younger and younger age are becoming aware of their body image and pressures on them to be the ideal image and figure.’
Mrs Davies said her daughter was an active young girl who was clearly not obese.
She said: ‘Lucy is one of those children who is always on the go – she does ballet, cheerleading and we spend our free time going on family walks and playing outdoors.
‘No child of her age should be worried about whether they have a tummy.’
She said the letter illustrated how far the ‘nanny state’ had intruded into the private lives of families.
Mrs Davies, who is married to 41-year-old financial advisor Tony, said: ‘What business is it of theirs? They seem to want us all to be round pegs to fit into round holes.
‘If it wasn’t all so official, and a nurse who knew the children could ring up the parents for a chat, then it might do more good. But this is a horrible scare tactic.’