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16th Nov 2021
Staff at Alder Hey Children's Hospital will deliver intensive support for severely obese children and young people, NHS England and NHS Improvement has announced today.
Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust has been chosen to run one of 15 new specialist clinics set up by the NHS in England.
Dozens of children a year, who are aged between two and 18 and experiencing health complications related to severe obesity, will be supported to lose weight through the new service.
Children will also receive specialist treatment and tailored care packages developed with their family, which could include diet plans, mental health treatment and coaching.
Group sessions will be provided with a full clinical team, including support from dietitians, psychologists, specialist nurses, social workers, youth workers and a paediatrician to ensure all health needs of each child are met.
Alder Hey, together with Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and Lancs Teaching Hospital are launching a ‘Complication of Excess Weight’ service, with recruitment underway at each site.
Obesity affects one in five children in the UK and can increase the likelihood of a child developing serious health issues such as diabetes, liver conditions and early heart disease. Latest data shows that one fifth of children aged 10-11 are obese and 14.1% are overweight in England.
Children who are severely obese can also develop difficulties such as breathing problems, sleep issues and mental health problems, which can dramatically impact their quality of life.
Early action can prevent long term health problems such as diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and even cancer, which is better for patients and the NHS.
The rollout delivers on the NHS Long Term Plan ambition to treat children for severe complications related to their obesity, avoiding the need for more invasive treatment.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS in England said:
“We know that obesity increases the risk posed by Covid-19 but many people, including children, have gained weight during the pandemic.
“Left unchecked, obesity can have other very serious consequences, ranging from diabetes to cancer.
“This early intervention scheme aims to prevent children and young people enduring a lifetime of ill-health.
“The NHS Long Term Plan committed to take more action to help children and young people with their physical and mental health and these new services are a landmark moment in efforts to help them lead longer, healthier and happier lives.”
Alder Hey Children's Charity