News posted 8 June, 2018

New online tool seeks to raise awareness of invisible obesity epidemic

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With research suggesting that parents are often unable to identify obesity in their own children a new animated web tool, called Champ OnTrack, has been launched in Manchester to help tackle childhood obesity.

Created as part of the Children’s Health and Monitoring Programme (NHS CHAMP) project, the animation is one of a number of measures taken by a city-wide partnership addressing childhood obesity in Manchester.

The partnership includes Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester’s Health eResearch Centre .  It is also supported by Health Education England.

Clinical Programme Manager and Dietitian Sarah Vince-Cain said: “A child’s growth pattern is a fundamental indicator of health and wellbeing.

“Last year NHS CHAMP collected the growth information of over 45,000 pupils in 137 schools.  We are really beginning to understand how children in Manchester are growing and the number of children at risk of weight related illness.   It’s much easier for parents to make small changes early on in a child’s development; the first step is to engage parents in the conversation and encourage them to view their children’s results”

Ben Green, Gamification Expert at the University’s Health eResearch Centre said: “We know from the evidence that most of us are unable to accurately assess a child’s growth by eye. NHS CHAMP gives parents access to tools and data that removes the guess work, meaning that getting support to change is one step closer.

“With CHAMP OnTrack we wanted to speak to people, not talk at them. We used techniques that make it much more of an experience than might be expected, under an aspiration towards inspiring change rather than imposing or demanding it.”

Champ on Track launches today (Friday, 8th June) as part of the British Dietetic Association’s Dietitians Week 2018.

The animation seeks to increase participation in NHS CHAMP, a programme unique to Manchester which goes beyond the remit of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) by feeding back the height and weight of every primary aged child to their parents every year via a digital platform.

Rather than receive feedback via letter, parents are invited to register with NHS CHAMP in order to view their child’s results online.  So far 21,000 families have registered with the website.

To view the animated resource please visit and to find out more about NHS CHAMP visit

Research conducted by The University of Manchester using de-personalised data from NHS CHAMP will be published in summer 2018.