The Health Visiting Service in Wigan and Leigh, which is provided by Bridgewater, is encouraging local parents to take up the offer of the two year old review which is offered to all children.
The two year review is delivered by community nursery nurses and health visitors in clinics, Early Years settings, Start Well family centres and family homes across Wigan and Leigh. Invitations to attend the checks are sent by the health visiting service to every parent in the borough who has a child between two and two and a half years old.
Sam Abbott is a Community Nursery Nurse at Tyldesley Clinic who carries out two year reviews with local families. She said:
“The review is a chance for parents to speak to a nursery nurse or health visitor about their child’s physical health, growth and development. We will discuss social, emotional and language development as well as any concerns about their child’s hearing and vision. Information is given on encouraging good sleeping habits, tooth brushing, toilet training, keeping your child safe and vaccinations.”
Another element of the two year review in Wigan and Leigh includes the measure of a child’s height, weight and body mass index (BMI). Children with a high BMI are more likely to become overweight adults, putting them at increased risk of a range of physical and emotional health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and emotional wellbeing.
If a child’s BMI is measured as high during a two year review, parents can then access further support and advice from the health visiting service and be signposted for multi-agency support as required.
“Health visiting staff want to support local parents as much as possible. The two year review is a chance for parents to access support on a range of issues and that includes health and lifestyle. If a child’s BMI is high, we can offer non-judgemental advice to families to help them make small, achievable changes such as getting more active, cutting down portion sizes or eating less processed food.
“We offer follow-up support for parents both in person and over the telephone and regular BMI checks to monitor health improvements. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and we have excellent partnership working with Wigan Council and can refer families to Wigan Council’s ‘Let’s Get Movin’ Team who provide one-to-one support to families with children under five. This includes fun activities, top food tips, 12 weeks free swimming and a key worker to support the family.”
Julie Townson is a 38 year-old mum of three from Atherton. She was surprised when her middle daughter Millicent was deemed to have a high BMI two years ago during her two year review. She said:
“I was a bit embarrassed at first to be told that Millicent had a high BMI. However, once I thought about it, I decided to get the help and support being offered by Sam and put it into practice. I realised I needed to reduce the children’s portion sizes and I accepted a referral by Sam to the Let’s Get Movin’ programme which provided me with useful healthy recipes.”
After following the advice, Millicent has gradually got a healthier BMI range over the last two years.
“Millicent has responded really well to the small changes we’ve made. I have started making meals again from scratch and she keeps trying new foods. She has also started nursery and become more active. I am grateful to the health visiting service for their help and I would recommend the support available to any parent.”
To find out more about health visiting in Wigan visit www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/healthvisitingservice.
More information about the Let’s Get Movin’ Team can be found at https://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Education/Lets-get-movin.aspx.