Should school students be regularly weighed and measured by School Nurses to help tackle Queensland’s obesity crisis?
As the Government rolls out a $12 million program to re-establish and expand the School Nurse program. Associate Professor Gary Leong from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience wants students’ biometric data recorded and parents informed of health concerns.
Dr Leong’s call is backed by the Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle, who welcomes a return to monitoring students’ weight and measurements.
‘It is a very sensitive issue but I would encourage the government to consider this as part of the expanded duties of School Nurses,’ she said.
Dr Leong said that since school is where children spend the most time, it is the ideal place to gather critical data.
The doctor sees first-hand the results of children carrying too much weight with a spike in cases of Type 2 Diabetes, as well as serious joint problems. Obese children are also at risk of early stages of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.
Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick confirmed School Nurses would have broader responsibilities to promote good health and intervene with learning disabilities.