Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to become obese adults and have a higher risk of long term conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (among others) and premature death. Children who are obese are also more likely to be absent from school due to illness and are at increased risk of stigmatisation, bullying and low self-esteem (Rees and others, 2009), which has significant consequences for mental and physical health (Griffiths and others, 2011); (Wijga and others, 2010).
There is strong evidence that, once established, obesity is difficult to reverse through interventions and tracks through to adulthood (Waters 2011). Through effective prevention the harmful consequences of obesity can be avoided.
The National Childhood Measurement Programme started in 2005.