As regular visitors to this blog may be aware, we have recently discussed how parents wanted their children weighed more often. A Populus survey Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition commissioned showed that, in the fight against obesity, 62% of parents with children under the age of 4 would like their children weighed every year. That number increases if we look at parents in the round: 73% would like their children every year or every two years.
This week we have seen two updates in the political sphere that show parents’ calls for more measurement continue to be met with muted interest. The Institute of Health Visiting has revealed that:
- Only 70% of families receive the mandated health visitor reviews at 6-8 weeks, 1 year and 2 years
- 16% of health visitors had caseloads of between 500 and 1000 children, despite the optimum number being 250
- Only a third of new mothers receive a visit before giving birth
The survey of the Health Visiting Institute is casting light on an already growing number of parents who wish their children were measured more regularly. The Social Mobility Commission report published towards the end of 2016 pointed out that one in four babies in the UK is not receiving mandatory check-ups from health visitors by the time they reached 15 months old. It claimed that one out of 5 babies does not receive the recommended reviews after they turn one.
As with the Populus survey previously highlighted, the Commission was told by a majority of parents that they wanted the health visits to continue. These developments raise questions about the effectiveness of the new Integrated Review, which does not include mandatory measurement checks at age 2.5. We will continue to listen to parents’ voices and concerns about measurement and are committed to highlighting the benefits of regular measurement in an attempt to promote healthy lives in young children.