Child healthy weight interventions

The Child Healthy Weight Programme in Scotland is a response to growing concerns about obesity levels among children and young people.

Evaluation of the Child Healthy Weight programme


A Scottish Government Health, Efficiency, Access and Treatment (HEAT) target for the period 2008 - 2011 required local NHS Health Boards to ensure that an agreed number of overweight children completed a weight management programme. The Scottish Government issued guidance to support delivery of the programme.

To meet the target local NHS Health Boards delivered a range of interventions. While the majority used group-based approaches, many also delivered one to one or class/school-based interventions. 

By the end of the target period 8,406 Child Healthy Weight interventions had been completed, exceeding the target of 6,317.

NHS Health Scotland led an evaluation of the 2008-2011 focusing on:

  • Local programme lead and practitioner experience of delivery with particular reference to programme set up, delivery and perceptions of success.
  • The identification, recruitment and retention of the target populations.

The report of the evaluation, together with two learning notes, can be accessed below:

2011 - 2014

In December 2010 the Scottish Government announced a further Child Healthy Weight target for the three year period April 2011 – March 2014.  Over this period NHS Boards are required to complete 14,910 interventions.  A new requirement over this period is that at least 40% of interventions are delivered to children/families in the two most deprived Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintiles. Completions were counted on the basis that each child had their height and weight recorded at the beginning and the end of the intervention. Refreshed guidance to support the new target was issued by Scottish Government in February 2011.

In March 2012 NHS Health Scotland commissioned ScotCen Social Research to undertake an 18-month evaluation of the 2011 – 2014 Child Healthy Weight programme. This evaluation has three aims:

  • To obtain a detailed understanding of Child Healthy Weight interventions, including staff reactions
  • To understand the reactions and experiences of children/parents/carers with respect to the Child Healthy Weight interventions
  • To understand the potential impacts of the Child Healthy Weight interventions.

The evaluation has involved interviews with staff and with children and parents/carers taking part in the interventions. It has also involved an analysis of data on the heights and weights of children participating in the programme.  This information is collected routinely as part of the Information Services Division Child Health Systems Programme – Schools (CHSP-S)

The final report of the evaluation was published in February 2014, and can now be accessed.

For further information please contact Fiona Myers

Updated 25 July 2014

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