A NEW clinic to tackle obesity in children is set to open in Southampton.

Head of the NHS in England has said as the service launched new specialist clinics for children living with severe obesity after many vulnerable young people have struggled with weight gain during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new clinic is set to open at University Hospital Southampton as part of a national roll-out pilot scheme, which will see 15 new specialist clinics care for severely obese children and their families.

It is estimated that roughly 1,000 children aged from two to 18-years-old will benefit from the services each year, which will offer diet plans, mental health treatment and coaching.

They will have access to dietitians, psychologists, specialist nurses, social workers, youth workers and a children’s doctor.

The clinics have been been opened as part of a pilot scheme, which will be extended if it proves successful.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS in England said: “The pandemic has shone a harsh light on obesity – with many vulnerable young people struggling with weight gain during the pandemic.

“Left unchecked, obesity can have other very serious consequences, ranging from diabetes to cancer.

“This early intervention scheme aims to prevent children and young people enduring a lifetime of ill-health.

“The NHS Long Term Plan committed to take more action to help children and young people with their physical and mental health and these new services are a landmark moment in efforts to help them lead longer, healthier and happier lives.”

The announcement comes as NHS Digital will publish the National Child Measurement Programme for England for the 2020-21 school year, which is expected to show if obesity prevalence is on the rise among children.

It analyses body mass index (BMI) classification rates by age, sex and ethnicity as well as geographic analyses, covering children in Reception and Year 6 in mainstream, state-maintained schools in England.

The previous report for 2019 to 2020 had some stark findings, with obesity prevalence increasing from 9.7 per cent in 2018 to 2019 to 9.9 per cent in 2019 2020 in Reception years, while in Year 6 obesity prevalence increased from 20.2 per cent in 2018 2019 to 21.0 per cent in 2019 2020.

The NHS said the new clinics will be located across the country at:

1. Derriford Hospital

2. Southampton University Hospitals

3. Kent and Medway CCG there is an outreach clinic

4. East London (Kings College London Hospital and Bart’s Health NHS Trust)

5. West London (covered by Great Ormand Street Hospital, University Hospital London and Tavistock Hospital)

6. Addenbrooke’s Hospital

7. Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals

8. Birmingham Women and Children’s

9. Nottingham Children’s Hospital / Leicester Royal Infirmary

10. Sheffield Children’s Hospital

11. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

12. Manchester Children’s Hospital

13. Royal Preston

14. Leeds Teaching Hospital

15. South Tees Hospital