Amsterdam targeting 2300 morbidly obese kids in health plan

Childhood Obesity (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Robert Lawton)Childhood Obesity (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Robert Lawton)

The city of Amsterdam has teamed up with a number of professionals, including pediatricians, doctors and health insurers, to get the 2,300 morbidly obese children in the city to a healthy weight. The goal for this cooperation is to reduce obesity through more efficient and more organized cooperation, the municipality announced in a press release on Thursday.

A child is considered morbidly obese if he or she has a body mass index, or BMI, of 35 or higher. Morbid obesity is considered a very serious health risk and the municipality found that the existing care and support for children suffering from this is insufficient. A number of children fall off the radar after a referral.

The municipality has therefore teamed up with health insurer Zilveren Kruis, Parent and Child Teams in Amsterdam, doctors pediatricians, Samen Doen, Child Protection and Veilig Thuis to tackle the problem.

This collaboration has come up with an action plan includes making sure that all 2,300 morbidly obese children in Amsterdam are on the radar and are receiving the appropriate support and care by end next year. Each child will have a "central care provider" - a pediatric nurse from the Parent and Child team in their own area - who will act as a contact person for all professionals involved. This central care provider will consult with the family on what care is appropriate and necessary and keep track of the child for several years to monitor how he or she is doing. In addition to the usual dietitians and healthcare, the child will also be given additional aid, such as supervised exercise, resistance training and parenting support for the parents.

This forms part of Amsterdam's overall approach to childhood obesity. One in five children and young people in the city are overweight or obese, which can cause serious long-term consequences for their health. The ultimate goal for this approach, which is headed by Alderman Eric van der Burg, is to have all Amsterdam children at a healthy weight by 2033.