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'Overweight' boy NHS letter prompts apology

image captionTom refused to eat his dinner after receiving the letter from the NHS

The parents of a boy branded "overweight" have received a letter of apology from the Department of Health.

Tom Halton, 11, of Barnsley was told he was overweight after taking part in a national scheme which measured children's body mass index.

His parents, Dan and Tracey Halton, said the results letter from Barnsley PCT was offensive and judged their parenting skills.

Tom is 5ft 1in (1.55m) and weighs 7st 10lbs, (49kg).

The letter suggested he was overweight for his age and sex.

Tom swims, goes ballroom dancing, plays cricket and football, and goes trials biking with his father and brother every weekend.

Mrs Halton said Tom was so shocked when he received the letter, that he weighed himself at home.

She said: "But his weight was more than they weighed him at school, so that made him anxious straight away."

image captionMr Halton said he was worried such letters might damage health projects

She added: "He refused to eat his dinner that night."

Mr Halton said he agreed with the government's healthy eating and lifestyle policies, but was worried that letters like the one they received damaged the schemes.

He said the letter was "scaremongering".

He said: "Not only does it say you are fat, but there is a possibility you are going to get cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease - and that also reflects on me as a parent."

The Department of Health said it was sorry to hear Mr Halton was offended and said the letter was not intended to be a judgement on his parenting skills.

Barnsley PCT has said it was following national policy.

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