Why we think it’s a good idea to offer free Body Mass Index (BMI) checks to people in Kirklees
Healthwatch Kirklees’ staff and volunteers are out in the community every week, talking to people about their experience of using local health and care services.
By offering free BMI checks, Healthwatch found a way of engaging with people in a slightly different way; people still give feedback on the services they have used but they also have a chance to check their BMI at the same time.
Every person who has a BMI check is given a record card to take away which shows their height, weight and BMI and also an explanation about BMI guidelines and some contact details for organisations who may be able to offer information and support if anyone is concerned about their BMI.
We recognise that BMI checks are not an exact science and Healthwatch staff explain this to people by pointing out, for example, that if the person is very muscular they may be a healthy weight even though their BMI is classed as obese.
Staff also signpost people to their GP where appropriate, and offer information to take away such as the ‘Eat Well Plate’ and Change for Life resources.
Staff find they are often presented with opportunities to potentially influence behaviour change and have attended motivational interviewing training to help with these sorts of conversations during outreach sessions.
We know that being overweight or obese is a significant problem in Kirklees (and in the UK). By offering free BMI checks, this could contribute to more people thinking about their weight, the impact that being overweight or obese can have on their health and to open up conversations about positive steps people can take if their BMI is above the healthy weight range. The following information is taken from Kirklees Joint Strategic Assessment: