'Tread carefully': Teachers warned over fat-shaming policy

Sam Hussey

Public school teachers are being encouraged to dob in overweight students after the Education Department labelled obesity as a “child protection issue”.

All staff in state public schools will now undertake mandatory training where they will be advised to raise the alarm on children they consider to be “at risk of significant harm”.

The social policy has drawn immediate criticism from medical experts, however the department of education reiterated that it was only in place for “very extreme circumstances”.

“Obesity is considered a child protection issue when it is impacting on the child’s wellbeing and welfare to a significant degree, and it is having a harmful effect on normal physical, social and emotional functioning, and parents/carers are unwilling or unable to address these concerns,” an Education Department spokesman told News Corp.

Doctors have warned teachers to tread carefully with the new fat shaming policy. Source: Getty Images

The bold movement comes after the NSW Health Department announced that one in five NSW school students is overweight or obese and they now get more than one third of their daily kilojoules from junk food.

Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon acknowledged the severe heath risks associated with obesity but said the new education strategy may be overstepping the mark.

“We need to tread very, very carefully so we are not interfering too far in the right of parents to decide what’s right for their children.

“I think we need to find that balance before asserting that teachers, headmasters and schools should be giving parents advice on how to look after their children.’’

New reviews would consider a complete ban on junk food at schools and sports venues. Source: 7 News
Much like Mexico did in recent years, health experts now want Australia to deliver a national approach on fast food bans. Source: 7 News

Following recent calls for added taxes on all of Australia's junk food, maligned senators Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch offered some simpler advice to the nation's overweight students - just show some discipline.

“If you bring in a tax on soft drinks, what else do you do it on?” Senator Hinch told Sunrise.

“For chips and a pie at the footy?… there’d be hell to pay.”

Senator Hanson agreed with her Victorian counterpart, saying it would be unfair for “fit and healthy people” to face taxes on junk food.

“You have to get back in the educational system, sport events right through school,” Ms Hanson added.