CHILDREN as young as two have been referred to weight management classes for being overweight.
New figures released by NHS Grampian show 70 youngsters aged 15 and under have been referred to paediatric weight management programmes up until the end of August, with some being as young as two years old.
In 2014, 132 children were sent invitations to take part in the programme – 11 of whom were aged two.
The figures show 13-year-olds are most commonly invited to take part in the weight management programmes, with 10 being referred so far this year, compared to 12 in the previous year.
The highest number of youngsters asked to attend the programmes in the last four years came in 2012, when 201 were invited. The figure in 2013 was 113.
Today, nutrition expert Dr Alex Johnstone of the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute said the figures mirrored a national trend which showed childhood obesity was declining.
She said: “These referral trends suggest that there is lower referral rates in 2013 and 2014 in comparison to 2012, for children aged between two and 15 in NHS Grampian.
“This concurs with the general observation in Scotland of a small but consistent decline or levelling off of childhood obesity.”
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “In Grampian, we are tackling child healthy weight in different ways.
“We work universally to promote healthy lifestyles with children of all ages in schools, nurseries and communities.
“We also have a one to one clinical programme, which works alongside children and their families to support the child and other members of the family to work out together how they can be more active and eat more healthily.
“Individual children are referred to this programme by a health professional.
“We work with the child and their parents/carers, although in the case of younger children we may work with the parent/carer only.
“The programme is run on an ‘opt in’ basis.”