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Calls for emergency taskforce on childhood obesity

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The RCN and 11 other healthcare organisations have requested the creation of a taskforce to tackle childhood obesity in an open letter to Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England.

Dr Rachel Pryke, the RCGP's clinical lead for nutrition, said: 'We have reached a state of emergency with childhood obesity and the current threat to public health is most definitely 'severe'. We need the right infrastructure, investment and knowledge to bring about the huge changes that are necessary if we are to protect the next generation. A national child obesity action group will allow us to call up a 'battalion' of health professionals to lead the fight for our children's health.'

The letter calls for greater measures to reduce the number of children classed as obese, including additional training for healthcare professionals, investing in data-gathering IT projects related to weight management, outreach and educational programmes for children, and greater support for the National Child Measurement programme.

Steve Jamieson, head of nursing at the RCN, said: 'Childhood obesity has become a very significant problem. Without urgent action to address this challenge, a huge number of children will grow up with serious health issues associated with obesity. The implications for them are severe and the burden placed on the health service will also be immense.'

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