Obese children under five awarded disability benefits
Obese children are receiving benefits as a result of their weight
At a cost of around £250,000 a year to the taxpayer, 50 under-16s were awarded the handouts.
Of these, ten were aged under five, 20 were five to under 11 and 20 were 11 to under 16.
In total 2,290 children under 16 received Disability Living Allowance for metabolic diseases in 2013/14, according to the Department for Work and Pensions – this included 630 under-fives and 50 officially recorded as obese.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, told the Daily Mail the figures were “astounding”.
“What does this say about our health services and society that we should let a five-year-old become so obese that they qualify for DLA?” he said.
We are failing to properly monitor the weight increases of our children
“I just cannot understand that we have developed a criteria for giving allowances for people of that age as opposed to doing everything we can to ensure they never get to that stage.
“We are failing to properly monitor the weight increases of our children. Even if they have a genetic or metabolic condition, you should be taking moves to ensure they do not get that fat.
“Children are vulnerable and, if you will, it is neglect on behalf of the parents. The medical profession should also have intervened before it gets to this stage.”
A metabolic disease occurs when chemical reactions in the body disrupt the usual chain of breaking down food into fuel or fat – the most common of which is diabetes.
Diabetes is often caused by obesity and could be a factor in why children are eligible for the benefits – although some metabolic diseases are also genetic.
DLA offers kids under 16 between £21.55 and £138.05 a week, depending on the level of they the child needs.
It is paid to carers, regardless of their income, to help with the costs of looking after the child.