South East Wales

10-stone five-year-old Newport girl taken into care

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Media captionA healthy overall lifestyle is the answer, say experts.

A five-year-old Newport girl was taken into care after her weight reached more than 10 stone.

The girl weighed 10st 5lbs (66.1kg) - more than three times the weight of a healthy child her age - in August 2012, and she was put into foster care.

The information was obtained by The Sunday Times in a Freedom of Information request.

Newport council said a thorough assessment of the child and family is always considered in cases like these.

In October 2012 the girl's weight rose to 10st 10lbs (67.5kg), but had fallen to 7st 7lbs (49kg) by August 2013 while she was in care.

'Comprehensive assessment'

Despite losing some weight, the girl's body mass index (BMI) was still nearly double what it should be when it was measured in October.

The child is one of the heaviest five year olds recorded in the UK, the newspaper found. Girls her age typically weigh around three stone.

A spokeswoman for Newport council said the wellbeing of children and young people was of paramount importance when dealing with this type of case.

She said: "A thorough and comprehensive assessment of each child and their family that we work with is always undertaken. All factors will be considered in any decision that is taken.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further on this case in the best interests of the child."

A Public Health Wales report published in July found more than 28% of five-year-olds in Wales are overweight, with 12.5% of children classed as obese.

Health experts said the figures were "worrying" but children still had time to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Lucy Davies, told BBC Wales about the healthy school initiative at St Woolos primary school in Newport.

"We run it throughout the year where we highlight and focus on a healthy lifestyle through exercise and eating healthy lunchboxes," she said.

The heights and weights of 29,400 reception age children were collected across Wales in the 2011-12 academic year as part of Public Health Wales' first Child Measurement Programme report.

The results showed that seven out of 10 children aged four to five had a healthy weight but 28% were classed as overweight or obese.

Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum wants regular monitoring of children so that problems are detected early.

"Here we have a five-year-old girl who was out and about in full visibility of people in the medical profession who really should have said 'hey, there is a girl who is far too heavy for her age'."

The problem in Wales is worse than England and Scotland, the report found.

"It's well known we in Wales have a problem with obesity, and not just in adults and middle aged people - but particularly in children," said obesity consultant Dr Nadim Haboubi.

Food advertising, especially for high fat, highly process foods as is the amount of fast food outlets in more deprived areas and a lack of play spaces for children, is a problem according to Judith John from Public Health Wales.

"All these things can impact on whether a child grows up health or not," she added.

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