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Quarter of Welsh children overweight but parents may not realise

Parents are unlikely to realise if their children are overweight as only 4% would agree that their child was

Parents are unlikely to realise if their children are overweight as a survey from Public Health Wales (PHW) shows only 4% would agree that their child was.

Questioning parents of children aged four and five, the survey led to Every Child Wales, a programme designed to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Wales.

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Just over a quarter (26%) of children aged four and give are overweight in Wales, according to the 2015/16 Child Measurement Programme. Ever Child Matters was launched in Barry on 24 July as a response to the statistics.

A new website will help parents from when they are planning their pregnancy to when their child is five, with advice to help parents ensure their children stay a healthy weight.

Children who are overweight at five are more likely to be obese by the time they are eight, and could grow up to develop long term health problems such as type 2 diabetes or asthma.

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Every Child Wales provides advice to parents on subjects like breastfeeding, how to cut down on sugary drinks, how to make sure children get enough sleep, and how to manage the amount of screen time their children have.

PHW health improvement director Dr Julie Bishop said: ‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life. If a child spends their early years healthy and happy, they are more likely to grow into healthy and happy adults.

‘Many parents may not realise that their child is overweight, or they may not be aware that it’s something to take seriously. When children are a healthy weight, they feel better about themselves, and they find it easier to play and learn.

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‘Starting from birth, helping children stay a healthy weight is the best approach.’

The launch of Every Child Wales is the first stage of a long-term programme of work to increase the proportion of children who start school a healthy weight.