South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway tests new child obesity approach

Boy on scales
Dumfries and Galloway has one of the worst records in Scotland for child obesity

An NHS board area with one of the worst records on child obesity in Scotland is to test a new approach to the problem.

At present about 24% of young people in Dumfries and Galloway are considered to be overweight.

In a bid to address the issue, the region's director for public health, Dr Derek Cox, said a new strategy was being adopted.

He said it would focus not only on the child's weight problem but on wider issues facing families.

"What is becoming clear is that children are overweight or obese for a whole variety of reasons," he said.

"It is not just simply: 'Can we tackle their diet and their exercise levels?'.

"What we have got to do is to look at the family dynamics, how children are getting on in school, what the problems are in schools and what other problems the family have."

He said there were a range of concerns which needed to be tackled together.

"Sometimes it is the weight of the parents themselves but sometimes there are other issues in these families," added Dr Cox.

"And unless we address all of these issues, the children will never lose weight."

He said the Children's Healthy Weight Initiative would try to use a more "generic approach" looking at all the issues facing a family rather than one specific problem.

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