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New regional child obesity service to offer vital support

Addenbrooke’s hospital is to become a new regional centre to treat children with obesity and provide support for families.

The new clinic will bring together medical, nursing, dietetic and psychology professionals, alongside social care and leading Cambridge obesity researchers to provide coordinated assessment and care.

Prof Ken Ong - head and shoulders
Professor Ken Ong

The service will be spearheaded by Professor Ken Ong, an honorary consultant paediatric endocrinologist and the clinical lead for childhood obesity at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH).

He also leads a team at the University of Cambridge MRC Epidemiology Unit where his research identified rapid postnatal growth, weight gain and reproductive timing as determinants, and targets for, the prevention of childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes and related disorders.

The greenlight was given by National Health Service England today (Tuesday, 16 November) and although it is early days and fine detail such as referral criteria has to be established, the service is expected to come on stream next spring.

He said:

We are delighted that a new centre will be established in Cambridge for children and adolescents with complications of severe obesity. Currently, such children are assessed in separate specialist clinics, but there has been little or no support available for families to manage these conditions.

Professor Ken Ong

“We will work in close partnership with another new centre based at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to provide a service across the East of England region.”

The news comes after CUH and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow were chosen to lead the nation’s fight against a rare genetic lung disease – making the new Familial Pneumothorax Rare Disease Collaborative Network the first of its kind.

In June it was also announced that Addenbrooke's is to head up a new regional service for children suffering with long Covid as part of a £100m expansion of care, with 15 new paediatric hubs being set up across England.