NHS England to open new specialist clinics for obese children in Kent and Medway
One of 15 specialist clinics to help children and young people who are severely obese will open in Kent.
The pilot scheme from the NHS aims to help one thousand children aged between two and 18 to lose weight
Young people will also receive specialist treatment and tailored care plans, which will be developed with their family.
These could include diet plans, mental health treatment and coaching.
To ensure all health needs of each child are met, a full clinical team will also provide group sessions.
These will include support from dietitians, psychologists, specialist nurses, social workers, youth workers and a paediatrician.
The clinics will also work to identify the cause of obesity in each child, taking their physical and mental health into consideration.
The scheme's results will contribute to the NHS Long Term Plan ambition to treat children with severe complications due to obesity, but without the need for more invasive treatment.
According to the NHS, obesity affects one in five children in the UK, and early action can prevent long term health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
Young people living with severe obesity can develop problems which can impact their quality of life, such as breathing problems, sleeping issues, and mental health struggles.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS in England said: "The pandemic has shone a harsh light on obesity – with many vulnerable young people struggling with weight gain during the pandemic."
She added: "Left unchecked, obesity can have other very serious consequences, ranging from diabetes to cancer. This early intervention scheme aims to prevent children and young people enduring a lifetime of ill-health.
"The NHS Long Term Plan committed to take more action to help children and young people with their physical and mental health and these new services are a landmark moment in efforts to help them lead longer, healthier and happier lives."