Call for more school nurses to fight obesity

PCTs are compounding the obesity epidemic by diverting cash away from training school nurses, union leaders have warned.

The Foresight report published yesterday predicted that 25 per cent of children under 16 would be obese by 2050, along with 60 per cent of adult men and half of adult women.

Ros Godson, professional officer for school health and public health at Unite/Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors Association (Unite/CPHVA), said school nurses were ideally placed to advise and counsel children on diet and nutrition.

But she warned that just 156 were trained in 2006/7 and cash for training was being diverted to help trusts achieve financial balance. She said the DoH would not meet its 2010 target of having a school nurse for every secondary school until 2023.

Ms Godson said the DoH should pay for at least 500 more school nurses to be recruited and trained immediately.

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