14/08/2014 12:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Council Spends £20,000 On Fat Camps For Overweight Schoolkids

Council spends £20,000 on Fat Camps for overweight schoolkids

A council is spending thousands of pounds on lifestyle coaches for overweight schoolkids.

Nottingham City Council will target pupils as young as five by sending teams of US-style Fat Camp fitness gurus to deprived areas to promote healthy living.

The scheme - which is expected to cost around £20,000 - aims to encourage youngsters from poor backgrounds to exercise more and ditch sweet snacks in favour of fruit and veg.

But parents criticised the move and said it should be up to mums and dads to get their kids active.

Tony Parkinson, 58, who has two children at Glenbrook Primary in Bilborough, Notts., as well as two secondary schoolchildren, said: "I think the lifestyle coaches are a waste of money. Parents should be responsible for the heath of their children.

"We make sure ours eat well and encourage them to be active. None of them are overweight."

Mum-of-three Caroline Clough, 43, said: "I feel like they don't trust me to feed me kids the right things and get them exercising.

"It's patronising, I take my children to the local park for a play and it would be better if they spent the money on improving that for everyone rather than on sending these coaches in to schools.

"The idea of a Lifestyle Coach reminds me of that horrible bully Harvey from Celebrity Fit Club a few years back. I don't like the idea of some army major type screaming at children if they are a bit overweight.

"The way obesity is measured for kids these days is so strict that even normal sized children are classed as overweight. I think it's all wrong.

"Kids need better education about the right foods to eat and exercise but that can be done by teachers and parents.

"Why do we need these gurus to stick their oar in as well? Once again the council are chucking money down the drain."

The council will pilot the scheme in the Bilborough area of the city from September, with up to nine coaches being sent to 12 district primary schools.

Martin Smith, sports, outdoor learning and adventure services manager for the council, said: "We want to reduce obesity rates among children. We already have a range of programmes, such as one which encourages children to go swimming.

"The coaches have been getting training. They will be fully briefed on providing dietary tips in schools as well as encouraging uptake in sports, particularly among those who are less active.

"They will be looking at the best way of getting children to do more sports."