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We know that parents/carers often have thoughts and questions after receiving the height and weight results.

Below you will find some answers to frequently asked questions.

How were these results decided?

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) uses an age and gender specific centile for Body Mass Index (BMI) Please note it is not the same as the BMI used for adults. The BMI Centile chart looks similar to the growth charts you will remember from your child’s ‘Red Book’ 

Children’s BMI centiles take into account that children and young people are still growing. It also allows for the differences in growth patterns between boys and girls.

The NCMP results place each child in one of 4 categories  - underweight, healthy weight, overweight, very overweight

Things like fitness, ethnic origin and puberty can make small differences to ‘body fatness’ Experts agree that measuring BMI (taking into account age and gender) is the most reliable way of measuring children and assessing if their growth is in the healthy range.

You can find more detailed information from;

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)  here

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)  here

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)  here

You can try the NHS BMI Calculator  here)

  • Some parents feel the results do not match how they see their child’s size.

    Understandably this can make parents feel upset or even angry.

    It is not as easy as you might think for parents or health professionals to tell if a child is under or overweight just by looking at them.

    We know that across the UK more and more adults and children are not at a healthy weight -this can make it hard to spot. We might well be comparing ourselves and our children with friends and family who are also overweight

    This is why the NCMP is important because it gives us a reliable measure of children’s growth. This means we can help children avoid the sometimes worrying outcomes of being under or overweight.

    However if you really feel that your child’s results are wrong please call us – we are happy to explore this with you further.

  • ‘Puppy fat’ can be an early warning sign that children are becoming an unhealthy weight.

    Around 1 in 3 children who are overweight in Reception return to a healthy weight by Year 6.

    However, we know that most children who are overweight in Reception do not return to a healthy weight.

    By the end of primary school - 2 in 3 children who are overweight in Reception remain overweight or become very overweight by Year 6.

  • Genes certainly play a role in influencing a child’s size and shape.

    However, we know it is not only genes which contribute to weight.

    When it comes to trying to provide a healthy lifestyle for their children, we know parents do the best they can.

    Our family behaviours, situation and beliefs all make a difference to our health and well being.

    Parents cannot control some of the factors that affect weight. However parents can make a big difference to other things - like diet and activity for their families.


  • Some parents tell us they feel guilty and like they have ‘got it wrong’ for their child when they get the height and weight results.

    When your child is measured as over or underweight it is no ones fault, and you are not to blame.

    The reasons people - including our children gain too much or too little weight are complicated.

    It is something a lot of people in today’s society struggle with.

    It is important that we share this information with you because growing at a healthy weight can make a big difference to your child’s future well being. Habits from childhood can last a lifetime.

    The good news is that as a parent you are in the best position to help your child. Making lifestyle changes now will help them to become a healthy weight as they grow. There is a lot of information and support to help you and your family achieve this together.

  • If you have other questions or worries you can call us on the contact details below – one of the team will be happy to try and answer your questions and help with any worries you or your child might have

Who Can Help?

If you are concerned about your child’s weight or eating habits and feel you need support then you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

Alternatively you can go to see your GP to discuss concerns.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum. CLICK HERE

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