Mum's fury over school letter stating 'healthy' four-year-old daughter is 'overweight'

A furious mum has slammed school health bosses for branding her 'healthy' little girl 'OVERWEIGHT' - despite being aged just four and weighing less than three stone.
Mum-of-two Ariel Marsden, 25, was horrified when she received the 'insensitive' letter from NHS East Sussex School Health service proclaiming her slender daughter was too fat.
The letter warned that the four-year-old may face 'low self-esteem and poor confidence' for being heavier than other children her age and leave her at risk of 'eating disorders'.
Photographs show Belle as a healthy, confident little girl who loves riding her bike, playing outside and helping her mum make fresh fruit smoothies.
But vegetarian Ariel is horrified her happy vegetable-loving daughter already faces a label as 'overweight' despite only just starting school.
Belle weighed 18.8kg during her school weigh in earlier this month which saw her branded 'overweight' when compared to others with her height, age and sex.
The letter claimed three out of four schoolchildren of the same age were of a healthier weight than Belle.
Ariel claims the letter has made her 'paranoid' about what she believes is the healthy food she feeds her children.
Ariel, from Hastings, East Sussex, said: "Belle is so happy. That's what upset me because she shouldn't have a label already. She's only four.
"She doesn't have a care in the world at the moment. They shouldn't be worrying about their weight at this age.
"It's the self-esteem and confidence thing that really annoyed me. I thought that was very upsetting to hear.
"I don't want her to be thinking about her weight at her age. It just worries me if older children are getting these letters and reading them.
"She's too young to be reading it herself, but if I got a letter like that and I was a teenager I don't think it would have affected me very well. It's a shame, really, and frustrating too.
"I don't think the letter was approached in a very professional manner in the way they have written it, personally.
"I felt really cross when I opened it. The fact that they said her weight would affect her self-esteem and confidence was really awful. I think it was wrongly put, to be honest.
"I've been underweight before and that was probably at my most self conscious because I was overthinking it so much and I didn't feel good about myself.
"I don't think the weight and confidence are interlinked at all. I'm going to do everything in my power to not let Belle's confidence be affected.
"I think the main thing to do is to not comment on their weight and if she does become overweight then we will just go out more and do more activity together.
"It makes me question my parenting, opening that. It makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong.
"I don't want to be the type of parent who tells her she can't eat this, or can't have anymore dinner. I don't want to starve her.
"Obviously I am aware of her weight and health. I'm aware of her diet too, and she eats well.
"In my opinion I think it's bullying that leads to self-worth issues anyway.
"It's the bullying and the living up to society's expectations on social media that causes the low self-esteem, not weight itself."
When she was told about the school weigh in, Ariel decided not to opt out as it was 'only a weigh in'.
The family had never been worried about Belle's weight before and Ariel claims she always expected her daughter to be tall for her age due to her 6'3" father.
But the letter, dated October 18, said: "Belle is in the minority of children across the country who are overweight or very overweight for their age.
"Three out of four children in Reception Year have a healthier weight than Belle.
"It is important to be aware that when a child has excess weight for their age it can lead to health problems like high blood pressure and early signs of type 2 diabetes as they grow up.
"Being overweight can also lead to low self-esteem and poor confidence."
Ariel claims that Belle is always on her feet running around, walking and riding her scooter - and eats a varied diet packed with fruit and vegetables.
Ariel, who volunteers at a playgroup, said: "Looking at my daughter I don't think she looks unhealthy. She's very confident - she's a very bubbly little girl.
"But at that age you don't think about how you look and she shouldn't care about it. I'm bringing her up to feel good about herself as a person and not to focus on her weight.
"I was very harsh on myself as a teen and watched everything I ate. I thought if they were comparing her to her friends, and if she was old enough to read that letter, how would she be feeling about herself?
"Her dad is 6 foot three and I'm not short so I know she's going to be a very tall girl.
"Even when she was born she was 8lb 14oz and she's always been slightly bigger than other children her age. Not in an unhealthy way, but just because it's how she's built.
"No one has raised any concerns about her in the past. It's all come completely out of the blue."
The mother-daughter duo often prepare healthy smoothies together and Ariel claims Belle is only allowed to snack on chocolate on Fridays during their film night.
Ariel said: "We eat healthily. We always have fruit, and that's what she snacks on apart from on a Friday when we will have a film on and eat chocolate and things.
"She's very active too - she doesn't stay still for a moment. I run playgroups and things so her whole life she's been going to playgroups and she's always been a very active child.
"We go on walks together or she rides on her scooter, and she does PE at school. All her activity is based around free play. It's not like she just sits at home all day.
"The letter has has made me a bit paranoid about what I'm giving her to eat."
Mum's fury over school letter stating 'healthy' four-year-old daughter is 'overweight' Mum's fury over school letter stating 'healthy' four-year-old daughter is 'overweight' Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on October 26, 2018 Rating: 5

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