STEVE MICHELLE WEIGHT LOSS BATTLE

TOWARDS A BETTER LIFE

Why food labels matter You'll find traffic light labels on most food and drink, usually on the front of the pack. These labels use red, amber and green colour coding to help us understand what's inside our food so we can make healthier choices when shopping. Food labels, also called nutrition labels, show how much sugar, sat fat and salt are inside what we're buying. When it comes to reading food labels, a good rule of thumb is to go for more greens and ambers, and cut down on reds. Not all packaged food has traffic light labels, but calorie information must be included on the back of the pack. Food labels What are calories? These labels include information on energy in kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcal), usually referred to as calories. Calories are a measure of the amount of "energy" in food and drinks. Children should get most of their calories from their breakfast, lunch and evening meal, but if children are snacking regularly or are hungry between meals and are looking for a packaged snack, remember to stick to 100 calorie snacks, two a day max.

Healthy Eating — A Detailed Guide for Beginners

The foods you eat have big effects on your health and quality of life. Although eating healthy can be fairly simple, the rise in popular "diets" and dieting trends has caused confusion. In fact, these trends often distract from the basic nutrition principles that are most important. This is a detailed beginner's guide to healthy eating, based on the latest in nutrition science. Why Should You Eat Healthy? Research continues to link serious diseases to a poor diet (1, 2). For example, eating healthy can drastically reduce your chances of developing heart disease and cancer, the world's leading killers (3, 4, 5). A good diet can improve all aspects of life, from brain function to physical performance. In fact, food affects all your cells and organs (6, 7, 8, 9). If you participate in exercise or sports, there is no doubt that a healthy diet will help you perform better (10). BOTTOM LINE: From disease risk to brain function and physical performance, a healthy diet is vital for every aspect of life. Calories and Energy Balance Explained In recent years, the importance of calories has been pushed aside. While calorie counting isn't always necessary, total calorie intake still plays a key role in weight control and health (11, 12). If you put in more calories than you burn, you will store them as new muscle or body fat. If you consume fewer calories than you burn every day, you will lose weight. If you want to lose weight, you must create some form of calorie deficit (13). In contrast, if you are trying to gain weight and increase muscle mass, then you need to eat more than your body burns. BOTTOM LINE: Calories and energy balance are important, regardless of the composition of your diet. Understanding Macronutrients The three macronutrients are carbohydrates (carbs), fats and protein. These nutrients are needed in relatively large amounts. They provide calories and have various functions in your body. Here are some common foods within each macronutrient group: Carbs: 4 calories per gram. All starchy foods like bread, pasta and potatoes. Also includes fruit, legumes, juice, sugar and some dairy products. Protein: 4 calories per gram. Main sources include meat and fish, dairy, eggs, legumes and vegetarian alternatives like tofu. Fats: 9 calories per gram. Main sources include nuts, seeds, oils, butter, cheese, oily fish and fatty meat. How much of each macronutrient you should consume depends on your lifestyle and goals, as well as your personal preferences. BOTTOM LINE: Macronutrients are the three main nutrients needed in large amounts: carbs, fats and protein. Understanding Micronutrients Micronutrients are important vitamins and minerals that you require in smaller doses. Some of the most common micronutrients you should know include: Magnesium: Plays a role in over 600 cellular processes, including energy production, nervous system function and muscle contraction (14). Potassium: This mineral is important for blood pressure control, fluid balance and the function of your muscles and nerves (15). Iron: Primarily known for carrying oxygen in the blood, iron also has many other benefits, including improved immune and brain function (16). Calcium: An important structural component of bones and teeth, and also a key mineral for your heart, muscles and nervous system (17, 18). All vitamins: The vitamins, from vitamin A to K, play important roles in every organ and cell in your body. All of the vitamins and minerals are "essential" nutrients, meaning that you must get them from the diet in order to survive. The daily requirement of each micronutrient varies between individuals. If you eat a real food-based diet that includes plants and animals, then you should get all the micronutrients your body needs without taking a supplement. BOTTOM LINE: Micronutrients are important vitamins and minerals that play key roles in your cells and organs. Eating Whole Foods is Important You should aim to consume whole foods at least 80-90% of the time. The term "whole foods" generally describes natural, unprocessed foods containing only one ingredient. If the product looks like it was made in a factory, then it's probably not a whole food. Whole foods tend to be nutrient-dense and have a lower energy density. This means that they have fewer calories and more nutrients per serving than processed foods. In contrast, many processed foods have little nutritional value and are often referred to as "empty" calories. Eating them in large amounts is linked to obesity and other diseases. BOTTOM LINE: Basing your diet on whole foods is an extremely effective but simple strategy to improve health and lose weight. Foods to Eat Try to base your diet around these healthy food groups: Vegetables: These should play a fundamental role at most meals. They are low in calories yet full of important micronutrients and fiber. Fruits: A natural sweet treat, fruit provides micronutrients and antioxidants that can help improve health (19). Meat and fish: Meat and fish have been the major sources of protein throughout evolution. They are a staple in the human diet, although vegetarian and vegan diets have become popular as well. Nuts and seeds: These are one of the best fat sources available and also contain important micronutrients. Eggs: Considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet, whole eggs pack a powerful combination of protein, beneficial fats and micronutrients (20). Dairy: Dairy products such as natural yogurt and milk are convenient, low-cost sources of protein and calcium. Healthy starches: For those who aren't on a low-carb diet, whole food starchy foods like potatoes, quinoa and Ezekiel bread are healthy and nutritious. Beans and legumes: These are fantastic sources of fiber, protein and micronutrients. Beverages: Water should make up the majority of your fluid intake, along with drinks like coffee and tea. Herbs and spices: These are often very high in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. For a longer list, here is an article with 50 super healthy foods. BOTTOM LINE: Base your diet on these healthy whole foods and ingredients. They will provide all the nutrients your body needs. Foods to Avoid Most of the Time By following the advice in this article, you will naturally reduce your intake of unhealthy foods. No food needs to be eliminated forever, but some foods should be limited or saved for special occasions. These include: Sugar-based products: Foods high in sugar, especially sugary drinks, are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes (21, 22, 23). Trans fats: Also known as partially hydrogenated fats, trans fats have been linked to serious diseases, such as heart disease (24, 25). Refined carbs: Foods that are high in refined carbs, such as white bread, are linked to overeating, obesity and metabolic disease (26, 27, 28). Vegetable oils: While many people believe these are healthy, vegetable oils can disrupt your body's omega 6-to-3 balance, which may cause problems (29, 30). Processed low-fat products: Often disguised as healthy alternatives, low-fat products usually contain a lot of sugar to make them taste better. BOTTOM LINE: While no food is strictly off limits, overeating certain foods can increase disease risk and lead to weight gain. Why Portion Control is Important Your calorie intake is a key factor in weight control and health. By controlling your portions, you are more likely to avoid consuming too many calories. While whole foods are certainly a lot harder to overeat than processed foods, they can still be eaten in excess. If you are overweight or trying to lose body fat, it's particularly important to monitor your portion size. There are many simple strategies to control portion size. For example, you can use smaller plates and take a smaller-than-average first serving, then wait 20 minutes before you return for more. Another popular approach is measuring portion size with your hand. An example meal would limit most people to 1 fist-sized portion of carbs, 1–2 palms of protein and 1–2 thumb-sized portions of healthy fats. More calorie-dense foods such as cheese, nuts and fatty meats are healthy, but make sure you pay attention to portion sizes when you eat them. BOTTOM LINE: Be aware of portion sizes and your total food or calorie intake, especially if you are overweight or trying to lose fat. How to Tailor Your Diet to Your Goals First, assess your calorie needs based on factors like your activity levels and weight goals. Quite simply, if you want to lose weight, you must eat less than you burn. If you want to gain weight, you should consume more calories than you burn. Here is a calorie calculator that tells you how much you should eat, and here are 5 free websites and apps that help you track calories and nutrients. If you dislike calorie counting, you can simply apply the rules discussed above, such as monitoring portion size and focusing on whole foods. If you have a certain deficiency or are at risk of developing one, you may wish to tailor your diet to account for this. For instance, vegetarians or people who eliminate certain food groups are at greater risk of missing out on some nutrients. In general, you should consume foods of various types and colors to ensure you get plenty of all the macro- and micronutrients. While many debate whether low-carb or low-fat diets are best, the truth is that it depends on the individual. Based on research, athletes and those looking to lose weight should consider increasing their protein intake. In addition, a lower-carb diet may work wonders for some individuals trying to lose weight or treat type 2 diabetes (31, 32). BOTTOM LINE: Consider your total calorie intake and adjust your diet based on your own needs and goals. How to Make Healthy Eating Sustainable Here's a great rule to live by: If you can't see yourself on this diet in one, two or three years, then it's not right for you. Far too often, people go on extreme diets they can't maintain, which means they never actually develop long-term, healthy eating habits. There are some frightening weight gain statistics showing that most people regain all the weight they lost soon after attempting a weight loss diet (33). As always, balance is key. Unless you have a specific disease or dietary requirement, no food needs to be off limits forever. By totally eliminating certain foods, you may actually increase cravings and decrease long-term success. Basing 90% of your diet on whole foods and eating smaller portions will allow you to enjoy treats occasionally yet still achieve excellent health. This is a far healthier approach than doing the opposite and eating 90% processed food and only 10% whole food like many people do. BOTTOM LINE: Create a healthy diet that you can enjoy and stick with for the long term. If you want unhealthy foods, save them for an occasional treat. Consider These Supplements As the name suggests, supplements are meant to be used in addition to a healthy diet. Including plenty of nutrient-dense foods in your diet should help you reverse deficiencies and meet all your daily needs. However, a few well-researched supplements have been shown to be helpful in some cases. One example is vitamin D, which is naturally obtained from sunlight and foods like oily fish. Most people have low levels or are deficient (34). Supplements like magnesium, zinc and omega-3s can provide additional benefits if you do not get enough of them from your diet (14, 35, 36). Other supplements can be used to enhance sports performance. Creatine, whey protein and beta-alanine all have plenty of research supporting their use (37, 38, 39). In a perfect world, your diet would be full of nutrient-dense foods with no need for supplements. However, this isn't always achievable in the real world. If you are already making a constant effort to improve your diet, additional supplements can help take your health a step further. BOTTOM LINE: It is best to get most of your nutrients from whole foods. However, some supplements can be useful as well. Combine Good Nutrition With Other Healthy Habits Nutrition isn't the only thing that matters for optimal health. Following a healthy diet and exercising can give you an even bigger health boost. It is also crucial to get good sleep. Research shows that sleep is just as important as nutrition for disease risk and weight control (40, 41). Hydration and water intake are also important. Drink when you're thirsty and stay well hydrated all day. Finally, try to minimize stress. Long-term stress is linked to many health problems

health and wellbeing

Every mind matters Having good mental health can help us feel better, sleep better and support us in doing the things we want to do. It can also help us have more positive relationships with those around us. Hear from people working through their own mental health problems, as well as from experts who explain more about how to manage and improve your wellbeing, in our videos.

effects of mental health

What affects our mental health All of us go through difficult emotional periods, and 1 in 4 of us experience a mental health problem each year. Things that affect our mental health include: our upbringing and environment, which bring out personality traits and ways of thinking that play a part in our mental wellbeing changes that happen to us throughout our life, like illness or difficult relationships, have a big impact on how we're feeling our genes, which make some of us more likely to develop certain kinds of mental health problems There are many situations or life events that can affect us and make us feel distressed or less able to cope. We all respond to life's challenges differently – there's no single "right way" to react. It may be everyday events, one-off experiences, or several things building up. Even experiences that should be positive can be difficult to cope with sometimes. It's often when there are changes happening in our lives that things get tough. Often, how we feel is a completely natural reaction to difficult times. But for some of us, these feelings can become more difficult to manage, especially if they don't go away – after a while, what we're experiencing affects our daily life. Things that affect our mental wellbeing include: our personal lives and relationships our home environment money worries work and employment issues changes in our lives our health and lifestyle events that happen to us Some of us are more deeply affected by events than others. How we deal with things can also be affected by how well other parts of our life are going or how well supported we feel. Being aware of the things that can affect our mental health can make it easier to understand when you or someone you care about are struggling. There are lots of things you can do and organisations that can help, and this list could be a good place to work out where to start.

Our personal lives and relationships

Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives, yet we can often forget just how crucial our connections with other people are. When we experience difficulties or changes in a relationship – with a partner, friend or family member – it can affect our mental health in many ways. If you're worried about your relationship and how it's making you feel, it's worth talking it over with someone you trust, or you may prefer to use a helpline or online resources. There are lots of sources of support and information that can help if you need help with your relationships. Read more about relationships and mental health: Citizens Advice: family issues Relate: relationships and mental health


Caring for someone else

Looking after someone else can be a positive and rewarding experience, but it can also be mentally and physically draining. Helping someone else gives you less time for your own needs and thoughts. Although you may really want to care for them, you may also find it difficult and upsetting, or might feel overwhelmed and unable to look after yourself properly. There's practical and emotional support available for carers. Speak to your local authority about what help might be available to you by asking for a carer's assessment. There are lots of sources of support and information that can help if you're caring for someone else. Read more about caring and mental health: Carers UK: stress and depression for carers Citizens Advice: practical advice for carers Mind: supporting someone else

Discrimination and mental health

When things change Life's always changing, but sometimes we face a big or sudden change that's harder to deal with, whether it's moving home, having a baby, or starting to care for someone. Even if the change is expected and positive, we can still struggle with the effects. It helps to be aware how stressful change can be, but also be aware that the stress is unlikely to last. It's important to take action if the effects last a long time after the change happened. Read more about dealing with stress. When things change, it can be helpful to understand what's happening and how the change could be affecting us.

change 4 life

What to feed young children Like the rest of the family, your toddler needs to eat a variety of foods. Here are some tips on the different sorts of food to offer your child, plus a few it's best to avoid. Fruit and vegetables Fruit and vegetables contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre. It's good to introduce lots of different types from an early age, whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried, so your baby can enjoy new textures and flavours. Try to make sure fruit and vegetables are included in every meal. Dried fruit, such as raisins, should be given to your toddler with meals, rather than as a snack in between, as the sugar they contain can cause tooth decay. Different fruit and vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals, so the more different types your toddler eats, the better. Don't worry if they'll only eat one or two types at first. Keep offering them small amounts of other fruit and vegetables so they can learn to like different tastes. Some children don't like cooked vegetables, but will nibble on raw vegetables while you're preparing a meal. Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods Starchy foods, such as bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes, yams, rice, couscous, pasta and chapattis provide energy, nutrients and some fibre. You can give your child wholegrain foods, such as wholemeal bread, pasta and brown rice. But it's not a good idea to only give wholegrain starchy foods to under-2s. Wholegrain foods can be high in fibre and they may fill your child up before they have taken in the calories and nutrients they need. After age 2 you can gradually introduce more wholegrain foods. Milk and dairy products Milk Breast milk is the only food or drink babies need in the first 6 months of their life. It's best to carry on breastfeeding alongside an increasingly varied diet once you introduce solid foods. Infant formula is the only suitable alternative to breast milk in the first 12 months of your baby's life. Whole cows' milk can be given as a main drink from the age of 1. Whole milk and full-fat dairy products are a good source of calcium, which helps your child develop strong bones and teeth. They also contain vitamin A, which helps the body resist infections and is needed for healthy skin and eyes. Try to give your child at least 350ml (12oz) of milk a day, or 2 servings of foods made from milk, such as cheese, yoghurt or fromage frais. Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced from the age of 2, provided your child is a good eater and growing well for their age. Skimmed or 1% fat milk doesn't contain enough fat, so isn't recommended for children under 5. You can use them in cooking from the age of 1, though. You can give your child unsweetened calcium-fortified milk alternatives, such as soya, almond and oat drinks, from the age of 1 as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Toddlers and young children under the age of 5 shouldn't have rice drinks because of the levels of arsenic they contain. If your child has an allergy or intolerance to milk, talk to your health visitor or GP. They can advise you on suitable milk alternatives. Cheese Cheese can form part of a healthy, balanced diet for babies and young children, and provides calcium, protein and vitamins like vitamin A. Babies can eat pasteurised full-fat cheese from 6 months old. This includes hard cheeses, such as mild cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and cream cheese. Full-fat cheeses and dairy products are recommended up to the age of 2, as young children need fat and energy to help them grow. Babies and young children shouldn't eat mould-ripened soft cheeses, such as brie or camembert, ripened goats' milk cheese like chèvre, and soft blue veined cheese like roquefort. These cheeses may be made from unpasteurised milk and may therefore carry bacteria called listeria. You can check labels on cheeses to make sure they're made from pasteurised milk. But these cheeses can be used as part of a cooked recipe as listeria is killed by cooking – baked brie, for example, is a safer option. Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins Young children need protein and iron to grow and develop. Try to give your toddler one or two portions from this group each day. Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, foods made from pulses (such as tofu, hummus and soya mince) and meat are excellent sources of protein and iron. Nuts also contain protein, but whole nuts, including peanuts, shouldn't be given to children under 5 in case they choke. It's recommended that boys have no more than 4 portions of oily fish (such as mackerel, salmon and sardines) a week, and girls no more than 2 portions a week. This is because oily fish can contain low levels of pollutants that can build up in the body. Read more about how much fish children should eat. Remember, don't stop feeding your child oily fish – the health benefits are greater than the risks, as long as they don't eat more than the recommended amounts. Helping your child get enough iron Iron is essential for your child's health. It comes in 2 forms: the iron found in meat and fish, which is easily absorbed by the body iron from plant foods, which isn't as easy for the body to absorb If your child doesn't eat meat or fish, they'll get enough iron if you give them plenty of other iron-rich foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, dark green vegetables, broad beans and lentils. If young children fill up on milk, it makes it difficult for them to get the calories and nutrients they need from a varied diet. These children are more likely to lack iron, which can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia. This can affect your child's physical and mental development. Foods containing fat, sugar and salt Fat Young children, especially those under the age of 2, need the energy provided by fat. There are also some vitamins that are only found in fats. This is why foods like whole milk, yoghurt, cheese and oily fish are so important. Once your child's 2, you can gradually introduce lower fat dairy products and cut down on fat in other foods – provided your child is a good eater and growing well. By the time your child is 5 they can eat a healthy low-fat diet like the one recommended for adults. Keep an eye on the amount of fat (particularly saturated fats) in the food your family eats. Try to keep it to a minimum. The following tips will help you reduce the amount of fat in your family's meals: Grill or bake foods instead of frying them. During cooking, skim the fat off meat dishes such as mince or curry. Buy leaner cuts of meat and lower fat meat products, such as lower fat sausages and burgers. Take the skin off poultry. Reduce the amount of meat you put in stews and casseroles. Make up the difference with lentils, split peas or soaked dried beans. For children over 2, use lower fat dairy products, such as low-fat spreads and reduced-fat cheeses. Use as little cooking oil as possible. Choose one that's high in mono- or polyunsaturates, such as rapeseed, soya or olive oil. In the UK, oil labelled vegetable oil is often actually rapeseed oil. Sugar Brushing your child's teeth regularly and visits to the dentist are essential to help keep your child's teeth healthy. It's also important to keep the amount of added sugar they have to a minimum. Added sugar is found in fizzy drinks, juice drinks, sweets, cakes and jam. It's best to offer your toddler water or whole milk to drink. Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced once they're 2 years old. You can also offer diluted fruit juice (1 part juice to 10 parts water) served with meals. Serving it with a meal helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. From age 5, it's OK to give your child undiluted fruit juice or smoothies, but stick to no more than 1 glass (about 150ml) a day served with a meal. The sugar in raisins and other dried fruits can cause tooth decay. It's best to give these to your toddler with meals rather than as a snack in between. Salt There's no need to add salt to your child's food. Most foods already contain enough salt. Too much salt can give your child a taste for salty foods and contribute to high blood pressure in later life. Your whole family will benefit if you gradually reduce the amount of salt in your cooking. Try to limit the amount of salty foods your child has, and always check food labels.


The National Child Measurement Programme As part of the National Child Measurement Programme, children are weighed and measured at school. The information is used by the NHS to plan and provide better health services for children. What happens in the child measurement programme? If you have a child in Reception (ages four and five) or Year Six (ages 10 and 11), you will receive a letter with more information from your local authority before your child is measured. On the day, trained staff will weigh your child and measure their height, in their clothes at school. They'll ensure the measurements are done sensitively and in private, and your child's results will not be shared with teachers or other children. Why is it important that my child is measured? This will tell you if your child is in the healthy weight range. If your child is overweight, you can get support from your local authority or NHS services. Your child doesn't have to take part, but every child measured is contributing to the national picture about how children are growing. The more children who participate, the clearer that picture will be. The information collected helps your local NHS to plan and provide better health services for the children in your area. How do I find out my child's results? In some areas, parents will automatically be sent their child's results in the post. In other areas, parents will need to contact their local authority to find out their child's measurements. The letter sent by your local provider before the measurements take place will explain how you will be informed about your child's results. If you already know your child's height and weight, and want to know if they're a healthy weight for their age, height and sex, you can check using our healthy weight calculator. This can be used by your whole family. If you're concerned that your child might be underweight or overweight, speak to your GP, school nurse or health visitor, who can offer advice and support. Why do we need to take the measurements? The BMI (body mass index) measure, used by healthcare professionals, is a good way of finding out whether a child is a healthy weight. By comparing your child's weight with their age, height and sex, we can tell whether they are growing as expected. This is something you may have done when your child was a baby, using the growth charts in the Personal Child Health Record (red book). Once your child's BMI has been calculated, they will be in one of four categories: underweight healthy weight overweight very overweight About one in five children in Reception are overweight or obese, rising to one in three in Year Six. Because the number of overweight children has gradually increased, we have slowly become used to it. It can be difficult to tell if your child is overweight as they may look similar to other children of their age. By recording their measurements, we can get an accurate picture. Research shows that if your child is overweight now, they are more likely to be overweight as an adult, which can lead to health problems in later life. This measurement is an important way of checking how your child is growing. Should I share these results with my child? The results are sent to you, so the decision of whether to talk to your child about them is entirely yours. Some parents or carers like to discuss the results with their child and then decide together whether to make any changes to the family's diet or activity levels. Others decide to make subtle changes without telling them. There is no right or wrong answer, and the decision depends on your individual circumstances. Find out more about talking to your child about weight on the Weight Concern website. Where can I get help? If your child's results surprise or worry you, speak to your GP or school nurse for advice and support. Your local authority should include a contact number with the results letter. You can call this if you want further information or advice from your local NHS. Many parents have found the tips on the Change4Life website useful in helping them make small lifestyle changes to keep their child in the healthy weight range. You can also find out what clubs, activities and fun events are happening in your local area. If your child is overweight, our advice for parents of overweight children can help you decide what steps to take and tell you what help is available. Some parents also find it helpful to keep track of their child's growth by rechecking their child's BMI to see if they have moved towards a healthier range as they grow. You can do this using the NHS healthy weight tool.

School height and weight checks

Has your child just been measured at school? The results can be surprising, but they're just a snapshot of your child's weight and it's not the end of the world. Get them back to a healthy weight with a few simple changes to help them eat more healthily and be more active.Make a change today! If you are concerned about your child, speak to your GP or practice nurse to see what support is available locally. Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Start with one of the tips below and work your way through them all.

The National Child Measurement Programme As part of the National Child Measurement Programme, children are weighed and measured at school. The information is used by the NHS to plan and provide better health services for children. What happens in the child measurement programme? If you have a child in Reception (ages four and five) or Year Six (ages 10 and 11), you will receive a letter with more information from your local authority before your child is measured. On the day, trained staff will weigh your child and measure their height, in their clothes at school. They'll ensure the measurements are done sensitively and in private, and your child's results will not be shared with teachers or other children. Why is it important that my child is measured? This will tell you if your child is in the healthy weight range. If your child is overweight, you can get support from your local authority or NHS services. Your child doesn't have to take part, but every child measured is contributing to the national picture about how children are growing. The more children who participate, the clearer that picture will be. The information collected helps your local NHS to plan and provide better health services for the children in your area. How do I find out my child's results? In some areas, parents will automatically be sent their child's results in the post. In other areas, parents will need to contact their local authority to find out their child's measurements. The letter sent by your local provider before the measurements take place will explain how you will be informed about your child's results. If you already know your child's height and weight, and want to know if they're a healthy weight for their age, height and sex, you can check using our healthy weight calculator. This can be used by your whole family. If you're concerned that your child might be underweight or overweight, speak to your GP, school nurse or health visitor, who can offer advice and support. Why do we need to take the measurements? The BMI (body mass index) measure, used by healthcare professionals, is a good way of finding out whether a child is a healthy weight. By comparing your child's weight with their age, height and sex, we can tell whether they are growing as expected. This is something you may have done when your child was a baby, using the growth charts in the Personal Child Health Record (red book). Once your child's BMI has been calculated, they will be in one of four categories: underweight healthy weight overweight very overweight About one in five children in Reception are overweight or obese, rising to one in three in Year Six. Because the number of overweight children has gradually increased, we have slowly become used to it. It can be difficult to tell if your child is overweight as they may look similar to other children of their age. By recording their measurements, we can get an accurate picture. Research shows that if your child is overweight now, they are more likely to be overweight as an adult, which can lead to health problems in later life. This measurement is an important way of checking how your child is growing. Should I share these results with my child? The results are sent to you, so the decision of whether to talk to your child about them is entirely yours. Some parents or carers like to discuss the results with their child and then decide together whether to make any changes to the family's diet or activity levels. Others decide to make subtle changes without telling them. There is no right or wrong answer, and the decision depends on your individual circumstances. Find out more about talking to your child about weight on the Weight Concern website. Where can I get help? If your child's results surprise or worry you, speak to your GP or school nurse for advice and support. Your local authority should include a contact number with the results letter. You can call this if you want further information or advice from your local NHS. Many parents have found the tips on the Change4Life website useful in helping them make small lifestyle changes to keep their child in the healthy weight range. You can also find out what clubs, activities and fun events are happening in your local area. If your child is overweight, our advice for parents of overweight children can help you decide what steps to take and tell you what help is available. Some parents also find it helpful to keep track of their child's growth by rechecking their child's BMI to see if they have moved towards a healthier range as they grow. You can do this using the NHS healthy weight tool.