Chemist4U surveyed 1,000 parents of children aged 17 and under to find out how they felt about the government’s National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) and whether they felt their children were getting a balanced diet and exercising enough. You can view the full research of the study here.
The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures the height and weight of over one million children in Reception (age 4–5 years) and year 6 (age 10–11 years) each year in primary schools in England was set up in response to a rise in overweight children.
However, the NCMP has faced backlash, with some parents feeling judged or ashamed after being told their child is overweight. Chemist4U approached parents to discover their opinion on the programme and overall attitudes towards health and fitness in children.
How do parents feel about their children being monitored by the NCMP
- 35.3% of the parents stated feeling happy with their child being monitored by the NCMP
- 30.5% agreed that children’s weight management is a personal/family matter and not a public matter
- 17.3% of parents said that they feel uncomfortable with the plans to monitor their children
- 4% of parents admitted to feeling angry that their children would be monitored as part of the NCMP programme
- 7.5% of the parents have already or are planning to remove their children from the scheme entirely
How confident parents are that their children are getting enough exercise
- 42.2% of parents are very confident, and 39.4% are somewhat confident, showing that lack of exercise in children is not a concern faced by parents
- Only 1% of parents said they felt very unconfident with the amount their child exercises
- 10.5% of parents are neither confident nor unconfident about their children getting enough exercise
How many hours of exercise children are getting on average per day
- 54.2% informed that their children do around 1–2 hours worth of exercise each day. This is in line with the NHS physical activity guidelines for children that suggest at least 60 minutes a day as the recommended amount of physical activity for a young person
- 21% of parents reported that their children do around 3–4 hours per day of physical activity
- 6% said their children do 5–6 hours, and a shocking 1% reported their children are active for over a shocking 7 hours
Parents view how hard it is to ensure that their children are eating a balanced diet
- The majority of parents, 50.5%, are concerned to some extent about their children being exposed to weight loss advertisements
18.8% of parents are unconcerned about their children being exposed
James O’Loan, pharmacist and CEO at Chemist4U, comments: ‘Weight management is a sensitive topic for everyone, even more so for children. Parents have a huge responsibility to keep their children safe and healthy, and navigating the world of weight loss can be a challenge.’
‘It’s great to see that lots of parents feel confident their children are getting enough exercise, and we hope that in the future, more parents will feel that ensuring their children have a balanced diet becomes easier.’
‘Weight loss advertising has long been a contentious subject. The overwhelming response from parents stating that they are concerned about this highlights the importance for governments to ensure proper regulation around this subject matter and that brands ensure they adhere to these guidelines.’