How can this boy of four be labelled clinically obese?
More NHS stupidity: They say he is at risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. They should mind their own business — particularly seeing they make such a bad job of their own business
He loves riding his bike, plays football every day and always eats his vegetables. So four-year-old Logan Knowles’s mother was stunned when she received a letter from the NHS saying he was ‘clinically obese’. The letter warned that the little boy was so ‘overweight’ he was at risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
At 2st 12lb, Logan is three pounds outside the recommended weight range for his age, which is between 2st 1lb and 2st 9lb.
Logan’s mother Stefanie Mrozowski, 29, said she was ‘furious’ he had been labelled obese, explaining: ‘It’s ridiculous – there’s nothing of him. ‘He is the smallest in his class and if anything he’s quite skinny for his age. He still wears clothing labelled for a three-year-old even though he is nearly five.
‘He runs around constantly, loves riding his bike and playing football, and always eats a healthy diet. There’s not an ounce of extra fat anywhere on his body.’
Hundreds of children have been sent letters informing them they are overweight or obese since the controversial child-measurement programme started. Eating disorder charities have described the letters as a ‘scare tactic’ that could have damaging effects on youngsters vulnerable to eating disorders.
Miss Mrozowski, of Darlaston, Walsall, said she and her partner Luke, 33, a fire technician, had not been informed that Logan was going to be weighed at school earlier this month. Two weeks later they received a letter in the post stating that he was ‘very overweight’ for his age, adding: ‘Doctors call this clinically obese.’ It went on to list a string of risks associated with obesity, including cancer and heart disease.
The stay-at-home mother, who also has two daughters Taiyla, 11, and Sydanie, ten, said labelling children obese while they were still growing was ‘dangerous’ and could lead to them developing eating disorders. ‘Kids these days have enough pressure to be the right size from magazines and TV,’ Miss Mrozowski said. ‘They don’t need it at school as well.
‘After she was weighed, my eldest daughter came home saying, “Mum, I’m the thinnest in my class”. I was furious. She is 11 years old. ‘I don’t want my kids coming home talking about how much they weigh, or thinking it’s some kind of competition. This is just a complete waste of NHS money and should be stopped.’
Miss Mrozowski wrote to her local NHS trust to complain. But the Walsall child-measurement team said that, although weighing children was a ‘sensitive issue’, it was important to identify children who were at risk of ‘growing into overweight or obese adults’.
U.K. plans to “cherry-pick” immigrants
The aim is to keep the numbers down, attract the very best
Wealthy immigrants and “world class” artists, musicians and intellectuals are to be given preference under plans designed to attract “the brightest and best” to Britain while keeping out those likely to be a burden on the state.
Immigration Minister Damian Green on Sunday said he would soon announce new rules as part of what he described as the “transformation of British immigration policy,” under which “fewer but better” migrants would be allowed to live here.
The move sparked accusations of “cherry picking,” with critics arguing that it would discriminate against people from poorer countries.
Under the proposed “selectivity” policy, the latest in a series of changes introduced by the Conservative-led coalition government since it came to power less than two years ago, those lacking the kind of skills that Britain needs to boost its economy and spouses of immigrants already settled in Britain would face tougher controls.
“What we need is a system that… goes out to seek those people who are either going to create jobs or wealth or add to the high-level artistic and cultural aspirations we have,” Mr. Green told The Sunday Times.
He said the new policy was aimed as much at bringing down the immigration levels as promised by the Conservatives in their election manifesto as at attracting only the very best.
FEWER AND BETTER
“Getting the numbers down is the absolute key but what I am aiming at is fewer and better,” Mr. Green said.
Tougher controls will mean that foreign spouses of British citizens would have to prove that they would be able to support themselves and not end up relying on state benefits.
The family would be expected to show a household annual income of £26,000.
“The idea of coming here from day one and living on benefits: people will think that’s unfair… The family will need to show it can support them,” said the Minister.
New rules would also make it more difficult for those on work visas to qualify for British residency.
“You have to show genuine serious usefulness to British society. What we are saying is: if you are a particularly exceptional person we will make it easy for you to come here in the first place and we will allow you to stay for a certain amount of time and in some categories we will make it easier for you to stay here,” Mr. Green said, arguing that the era of mass immigration was “over.”
Paedophile of ‘the most sickening order’ was able to film himself abusing girls in primary school classrooms because bosses did NOTHING despite 30 warnings
Behold the attitudes engendered by being a British public servant. They are an especially protected class who can be fired only under the most exceptional circumstances so they often just go through the motions of doing their jobs — with the only important thing to them being what cake to have with their morning tea. This case was so extreme, however, that the most guilty party was fired. He should have been prosecuted for criminal negligence or as an accessory after the fact
A paedophile teacher filmed himself abusing girls in the classroom after school bosses failed over 14 years to act on 30 warnings about his behaviour. Nigel Leat, 51, was described by a judge as a ‘paedophile of the most sickening order’ when he was jailed indefinitely last year for abusing five girls, some as young as six.
Yesterday a damning report showed that the primary school where he worked had catastrophically failed to protect the children in his care. Over 14 years, concerns had been raised repeatedly about Leat’s behaviour with pupils, but his conduct was never investigated. He had abused children in the school’s computer room, resource room, staff room and even during lessons with other pupils present.
Leat also regularly filmed the pupils’ harrowing ordeals using a camera provided by the school, storing hundreds of films on more than 20 memory sticks labelled with his victims’ names.
Staff at Hillside First School in Worle, Somerset, first noticed Leat selecting girls who were ‘less academically able, emotionally needy or pretty’ as his ‘favourites’ a year after he started teaching there in 1996.
His inappropriate behaviour was so well known that staff tried to prevent children likely to become his ‘star pupils’ from being put into his Year Two and Year Three classes.
In 2004, a mother claimed Leat had been taking pictures of her daughter with a mobile phone but he denied the accusation and no action was taken. Four years later, two children told staff that Leat, a married father of two, had been touching their legs and kissing one of them – causing her to be sick – and a teacher twice reported him to the head. Another member of staff saw Leat projecting an indecent image of an adult on to a wall during a lesson.
Leat was also seen lifting up and groping young girls in the playground, tickling and cuddling pupils in class and sitting on cushions with a schoolgirl while visibly aroused.
But those staff members who reported Leat’s behaviour were told they should not ‘insinuate things’ and were bullied into silence, a report said yesterday.
It was later discovered that Leat would routinely hide a camera under his desk and then summon his victims, recording the subsequent horrifying images of the abuse. In many of the videos, which are up to ten minutes in length, other children can be seen or heard in the background.
When police finally became involved, Leat first denied wrongdoing but later admitted 36 sexual offences including rape, assault and voyeurism.
Yesterday a review by the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Board concluded that his appalling crimes could have been stopped much earlier if the school had not failed to act on the warnings. Instead, out of 30 disturbing incidents noted, only 11 were mentioned to the school’s headmaster, Chris Hood, and none was passed on to an agency outside the school.
Leat was only arrested in December 2010, when a schoolgirl told her mother he abused her ‘every day apart from when the teaching assistant was in the classroom’.
Police who raided the home he shared with his wife, also a teacher, found more than 30,000 images, including 61 pictures and 21 movies at level five, the most serious level. At least 20 children were victims of Leat’s abuse or witnessed it at the school, which caters for 128 children aged between four and eight.
Three Ofsted inspections undertaken during the time Leat was abusing his students graded it as ‘good’ and a report in 2009 noted: ‘Pupils feel exceptionally safe and secure because they know that staff have their well-being at heart.’
Tony Oliver, who chaired the serious case review, said: ‘There was a failure at every level within the school.
‘There was a culture which just did not empower people to voice their concerns. It could be interpreted as a culture of bullying.’ He said the headmaster had been sacked following a disciplinary process.
Ban on spanking behind London riots?
The ban on smacking children must be overturned to help prevent a repeat of last summer’s riots, according to a senior Labour MP.
Former Education Minister David Lammy, who represents the Tottenham area of North London where the disturbances started, says working-class parents need to be able to discipline their children physically to deter them from joining gangs and getting involved in knife crime.
Calling for a return to the Victorian laws on discipline, Mr Lammy said parents were ‘no longer sovereign in their own homes’ and lived under constant fear that social workers would take away their children if they chastised them.
The MP said it was easier for middle-class parents to control their children as they could afford to pay for private schools, which have tougher discipline than state schools, as well as activities such as tennis lessons.
Mr Lammy, 39, said he was smacked as a child and it taught him self-discipline and respect, adding that he had smacked his own sons, aged three and five – mainly to protect them from danger.
He called for a reversal of Labour’s 2004 decision to tighten up the smacking law. Previously parents could use ‘reasonable chastisement’, while the new definition prohibits any force that causes ‘reddening of the skin’. Mr Lammy poured scorn on that description, saying it was irrelevant to black children.
He said: ‘Many of my constituents came up to me after the riots and blamed the Labour Government, saying, “You guys stopped us being able to smack our children.”
‘When this was first raised with me I was pretty disparaging. But I started to listen. These parents are scared to smack their children and paranoid that social workers will get involved and take their children away.
‘The law used to allow “reasonable chastisement”, but current legislation stops actions that lead to a reddening of the skin – which for a lot of my non-white residents isn’t really an issue.’
Mr Lammy – who is married to portrait artist Nicola Green, the daughter of the founder of the British Lung Foundation, Professor Sir Malcolm Green – said the law was designed for middle-class families, not those who lived with ‘fear outside their windows’.
‘Middle-class families can find all sorts of ways to handle children, by putting them in tennis classes or using traditional private schools,’ he said.
Asked if he had smacked his own children he confessed: ‘I have smacked my kids, but it doesn’t happen very often – usually when they are in danger.’ The MP was pressed on the issue in an interview with Iain Dale on LBC Radio, after he had made a call on the Mumsnet website for smacking to be legalised.
Parents in his area had to ‘raise children on the 15th floor of a tower block with knives, gangs and the dangers of violent crime just outside the window’, he said.
‘They no longer feel sovereign in their own homes. And the ability to exercise their own judgment in relation to discipline and reasonable chastisement has been taken away.’
He added that ‘middle-class’ MPs and Ministers had no idea of the ‘realities of the single mum struggling with these issues. We should return to the law as it existed for 150 years before it was changed in 2004’.
The Children Act of 2004, introduced by Tony Blair’s Government, removed the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’, meaning injuries as slight as a bruise can result in an assault charge. Guilty parents can be jailed for up to five years.
Mr Lammy told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Parents in my constituency are frightened that if they smack their children, a social worker will come knocking at the door.
‘When the law changed in 2004, it was to deal with people who abused their children. The law at that time left judges to determine if a parent had used reasonable chastisement. Under the new arrangements it is left to social workers.
‘Single mums raising boys feel there are things that happen outside their front door – drugs, gangs or knife crime – where smacking is one of the things they should be able to do. They are confused about the law. We should allow 99 per cent of parents to determine how to help their children understand boundaries and learn right from wrong.
‘We have to distinguish between that and child abuse. No normal parent enjoys smacking their child. A lot do it from time to time and as children get older it stops. ‘I was smacked as a child. And I am hugely grateful for the role my mother played in my life. I wouldn’t be an MP if it were not for her.’
Mr Lammy was brought up in Tottenham by a single mother, Rose, and has previously spoken of his sense of ‘betrayal’ after his father walked out on the family when he was 11 years old.
Mr Lammy set out his support for scrapping the smacking ban in his book Out Of The Ashes: After The Riots.
He said that last year’s summer riots, which started after a man was shot dead by police in Tottenham, were ‘an explosion of hedonism and nihilism’, fuelled by police blunders – and not caused by Government cuts or joblessness.
His predecessor as Tottenham MP, Bernie Grant, famously said police got a ‘bloody good hiding’ in the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot, when PC Keith Blakelock was killed.
Mr Lammy’s constituency in the London borough of Haringey has witnessed two terrible child abuse scandals. In 2009, the mother of ‘Baby P’, Peter Connelly, and two others were jailed after he died, despite being seen by Haringey’s authorities 60 times. The council was also criticised after eight-year-old Victoria Climbie was starved to death in Tottenham in 2000.
Britain’s Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years
The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.
Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.
Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.
Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.
We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.
Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.
According to a paper issued last week by the Met Office, there is a 92 per cent chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the ‘Dalton minimum’ of 1790 to 1830. In this period, named after the meteorologist John Dalton, average temperatures in parts of Europe fell by 2C.
However, it is also possible that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the ‘Maunder minimum’ (after astronomer Edward Maunder), between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the ‘Little Ice Age’ when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid.
Yet, in its paper, the Met Office claimed that the consequences now would be negligible – because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide. Although the sun’s output is likely to decrease until 2100, ‘This would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C.’ Peter Stott, one of the authors, said: ‘Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases.’
These findings are fiercely disputed by other solar experts.
‘World temperatures may end up a lot cooler than now for 50 years or more,’ said Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at Denmark’s National Space Institute. ‘It will take a long battle to convince some climate scientists that the sun is important. It may well be that the sun is going to demonstrate this on its own, without the need for their help.’
He pointed out that, in claiming the effect of the solar minimum would be small, the Met Office was relying on the same computer models that are being undermined by the current pause in global-warming.
CO2 levels have continued to rise without interruption and, in 2007, the Met Office claimed that global warming was about to ‘come roaring back’. It said that between 2004 and 2014 there would be an overall increase of 0.3C. In 2009, it predicted that at least three of the years 2009 to 2014 would break the previous temperature record set in 1998.
So far there is no sign of any of this happening. But yesterday a Met Office spokesman insisted its models were still valid. ‘The ten-year projection remains groundbreaking science. The period for the original projection is not over yet,’ he said.
Dr Nicola Scafetta, of Duke University in North Carolina, is the author of several papers that argue the Met Office climate models show there should have been ‘steady warming from 2000 until now’.
‘If temperatures continue to stay flat or start to cool again, the divergence between the models and recorded data will eventually become so great that the whole scientific community will question the current theories,’ he said.
He believes that as the Met Office model attaches much greater significance to CO2 than to the sun, it was bound to conclude that there would not be cooling. ‘The real issue is whether the model itself is accurate,’ Dr Scafetta said. Meanwhile, one of America’s most eminent climate experts, Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she found the Met Office’s confident prediction of a ‘negligible’ impact difficult to understand.
‘The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun,’ said Professor Curry. As for the warming pause, she said that many scientists ‘are not surprised’.
She argued it is becoming evident that factors other than CO2 play an important role in rising or falling warmth, such as the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
‘They have insufficiently been appreciated in terms of global climate,’ said Prof Curry. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years .
Pal Brekke, senior adviser at the Norwegian Space Centre, said some scientists found the importance of water cycles difficult to accept, because doing so means admitting that the oceans – not CO2 – caused much of the global warming between 1970 and 1997. The same goes for the impact of the sun – which was highly active for much of the 20th Century.
‘Nature is about to carry out a very interesting experiment,’ he said. ‘Ten or 15 years from now, we will be able to determine much better whether the warming of the late 20th Century really was caused by man-made CO2, or by natural variability.’
Meanwhile, since the end of last year, world temperatures have fallen by more than half a degree, as the cold ‘La Nina’ effect has re-emerged in the South Pacific.
‘We’re now well into the second decade of the pause,’ said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. ‘If we don’t see convincing evidence of global warming by 2015, it will start to become clear whether the models are bunk. And, if they are, the implications for some scientists could be very serious.’
Heresy at the BBC
There’s an extremely interesting snippet (about 3 minutes long) on the website of BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program, which is their flagship program for serious news and current affairs. Peter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford, says that contrary to environmental orthodoxy that fossil fuels will shortly run out, “the facts are very, very different. We’re awash with the stuff”.
The snippet then goes on, incredibly for the BBC, to talk about how the “challenge” for environmentalists is to come up with an argument against this abundant source of energy, expecially clean burning shale gas. Amazing stuff for the BBC.
English diet ‘could save thousands’
This is all just assertion. There are known differences in ancestry between the English and the Scots so the differences could be wholly genetic
The study, undertaken by academics at Oxford University, estimates that 3,700 deaths from heart disease, strokes and cancer, could be prevented annually if everyone in the UK ate as healthily as the English.
Peter Scarborough, of the university’s department of public health, said national surveys showed people south of the border tended to eat better.
For fear of upsetting fiery Celtic sensibilities, Scarborough emphasised: “We are not trying to be inflammatory at all”.
Rather, there was an important matter of public health at hand. “It has been a question for years as to why mortality rates are higher in other parts of the UK, particularly Scotland, than they are in England,” he explained.
Scarborough, an epidemiologist, and colleagues calculated that if death rates from heart disease, stroke and cancer were as low in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales as they were in England, 7,000 fewer people would die a year.
The research, published today (Thursday) in the journal BMJ Open, therefore suggests that just over half the difference (53 per cent) is due to diet alone. Scotland has the worst diet, he said, followed by Northern Ireland, Wales and England.
While the deep-fried Mars bars might be the stuff of Glaswegian legend – and something rarely eaten by most Scots in practice – he said there were real dietary differences that divided the two principal nations. “The Scottish diet is higher in saturated fat and salt and lower in fruit and vegetables,” he said.
The study, sponsored by the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, analysed diets using data from four years worth of reports from the Family Food Survey, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
It found that while the English eat just under 2,300 calories a day, elsewhere in the UK the intake is about 100 calories higher. Although that does not sound like a lot – it is the equivalent a glass of semi-skimmed milk – over time those calories can mount up, leading to higher obesity levels unless countered by more exercise.
But Scarborough said: “It’s not the amount of food that most important in these health differences, it’s the type.”
He also stressed that the English diet itself was not a paragon of good eating, unlike the much vaunted Continental alternative, the Mediterranean diet, which is much higher in fruit and vegetables and unsaturated fats. “We are not holding up the English diet as perfect – it’s certainly nothing like the Mediterranean diet – but clearly it is an achievable diet,” he said.
Most of the differences in death rates between Wales and England and Northern Ireland and England can be explained by diet – according to the Oxford analysis, 81 per cent in both cases.
Interestingly, the figure is only 40 per cent for Scotland. This could be because a higher proportion of people smoke and drink heavily in Scotland.
However, even when other factors are taken into account – notably physical activity and stress levels – the wide gap between England and Scotland cannot be entirely accounted for.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Earlier this year we set out actions being taken to make it easier for everyone to make healthy choices, including eating more fruit and vegetables, eating less salt, fat and added sugar, and becoming more active. “We have introduced a range of measures to improve diet and are spending over œ7.5m in the next three years on projects to encourage healthy eating.”
Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This research isn’t about bragging rights to the English or tit-for-tat arguments about how healthy our traditional dishes might be. “This is a useful exercise in comparing influential differences in diet across the UK, namely calorie intake and fruit and veg consumption. However, saying the rest of the UK should follow England’s lead to cut heart deaths isn’t a foolproof solution; a quarter of English adults are obese and only 30 per cent eat their five-a-day.
“The findings have thrown up some clear inequalities in the four nations and our governments must do everything they can to create environments that help people make healthy choices.”
You can’t win: British filmmakers remove leprosy gag from new children’s comedy after outcry but were they too PC?
“The makers of Wallace and Gromit have been forced to take a joke about leprosy out of their latest film after an outcry from health campaigners.
Animators Aardman have caused a furore with a scene that appeared in a trailer for Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists! – starring Hugh Grant and Brian Blessed.
It shows the arrival of the Pirate Captain, voiced by Grant, on board a captive ship demanding gold.
A crew member tells him: ‘Afraid we don’t have any gold old man, this is a leper-boat.’ His arm then falls off, before he adds: ‘See!’
Campaigners lined up to criticise the visual gag, accusing Aardman Animations of ‘laughing at the millions disabled by leprosy’.
The Oscar-winning British film company agreed to remove the gag from the family film, which is set to be released in the UK this March.
But the move was criticised by some who claimed it was an over-reaction just to appease a vocal minority.