Childhood Obesity in the Community: Treatment, Prevention, and Monitoring of Childhood Obesity in Leeds, U.K.
Childhood obesity has essentially no consequences at the community level and therefore presents a dilemma. This chapter describes the work that we in Leeds are engaged in, which covers the spectrum of treatment, prevention, and monitoring of childhood obesity. There are no specialist pediatric clinics, the hospital dietetic department has closed its doors to any referrals for obesity, and the community dieticians can offer only one or two appointments, with a follow-up phone call. The WATCH IT concept grew out of a comment by a colleague that “surely families don’t need highly qualified health professionals to help them do what they need to do.” The obesity epidemic is at last recognized as a major public health problem affecting children across the world. As such, it is clear that massive efforts are required to stem the tide. Universal monitoring of growth and weights, which would allow for screening for obesity, will not return and indeed is not indicated.