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National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)

Every council area in England takes part in the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) and this involves measuring the height and weight of reception and year 6 children. Helping children to achieve a healthy weight is both a national and local priority and the NCMP programme helps us, the NHS and other organisations to plan what support might be needed and what kind of services to put in place.

We know your child’s health and wellbeing is very important to you which is why once the measurements have been completed we will send you your child’s measurements. You can use this information to check if your child is growing as expected for their age. This information is important as it supports the decisions you are already making about your child’s lifestyle.

Locally over one in five children in Reception are overweight or obese, rising to one in three in Year Six. Because the number of children being overweight 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 measure.

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 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. Advice to parents and carers on how to talk to their child about their weight, if you feel this would be useful is available from the charity Weight Concern

What happens on the day?

The measurements are supervised by trained staff from the School Nurse Service. Children are fully dressed except for their coats and shoes and the measurements are done sensitively in private.  The individual measurements will never be shared with teachers, other children or your child – unless you choose to do so.

Does my child have to do this?

No they do not. Some parents may choose to opt out of the NCMP programme, and you will be offered the chance to do this when you receive the NCMP letter through your child’s school. We do recommend that your child takes part so you can check if your child is growing as expected for their age.

Advice for parents and carers

  • We know that weight is not the only thing that affects a child’s health, and that as parents you have more information to go on than weight alone in judging what is best for your child.  However, the results are designed to help you in understanding if your child’s height and weight are growing as expected
  • Children’s weight can be checked using the NHS calculator
  • NHS advice on diet and physical activity for healthy growth in children is available on NHS Choices
  • Families can register for free with Change4Life and get lots of practical information about healthy recipes, things to do to keep active and much more.
  • The results may be reassuring but they may also surprise or worry you. If you would like to talk to a Health Professional about your child’s results have a chat with your school nurse or make an appointment to see your GP.

The case studies to the right of this page ‘Downloads’ section provide examples of experiences of the NCMP programme through the eyes of a parent, career and child whose children were weighed and measured above average weight.  Some families have found them useful in understanding how the NCMP programme can support children and young people who are above average weight.