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Too many obesity warnings could trigger eating disorders

Obesity warning Photo: ITV

There's a warning messages about obesity must be communicated in a sensitive way to children or they could trigger bigger problems.

Dr Janet Walsh, who leads a specialist child and adolescent eating disorders unit at the Priory Hospital in Altrincham, Cheshire, said lessons must should focus on health over size.

Dr Walsh told Granada, "I am not against strategies to try and reduce health risks of obesity...my concern is about how those messages are communicated."

She added patients at the Priory often recall educational sessions that triggered the disorder at a vulnerable age. "Children come to us in a starved state, some young people are frightened of touching food because they believe they can absorb fats though the touch of food."

This month the government was set to release a strategy on tackling childhood obesity after figures claim the problem is growing. The National Child Measurement Programme revealed 1 in 5 children in our region leave primary school obese. Dr Walsh says there needs to be a level of body acceptance whatever the weight and shape of a child.

"During puberty it's very normal to put weight on...and the last thing we want is for children to get preoccupied about that, so it's about giving positive messages."

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