NCMP – National Child Measurement Programme

Your child may have recently brought a letter home from school which details their height, weight and refers to NCMP…This section will help you to understand what NCMP is and what it means.

What is the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)?

The National Child Measurement Programme checks your children’s height and weight in Primary School at reception (aged 4 to 5) and in year 6 (aged 10 to 11) which will provide a Body mass index reading. This information is used to check your child is within a healthy weight range according to the children’s growth chart. This is to ensure that your child is fit and healthy and is also used by the NHS to plan and provide better health services which may be needed for children.

What is Body Mass Index?

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height and applies to most adult men and women aged 20 and over. For children aged 2 and over, BMI percentile is the best assessment of body fat as it takes their gender and age into account too.

Click HERE to use the NHS BMI calculator

What are the measurements used for?

The BMI (body mass index) measure, used by healthcare professionals, is a good way of finding out whether a child is a healthy weight.

By comparing your child’s weight with their age, height and gender, we can tell whether they are growing as expected. This is something you may have done when your child was a baby, using the growth charts in the Personal Child Health Record (red book).

Once your child’s BMI has been calculated, they will be in one of four categories:


healthy weight


very overweight

About one in five children in reception are overweight or very overweight, rising to one in three in year six. Because the number of overweight children has gradually increased, we have slowly become used to it. It can be difficult to tell if your child is overweight as they may look similar to other children of their age. By recording their measurements, we can get an accurate picture.

Research shows that if your child is overweight now, they are more likely to be overweight as an adult, which can lead to health problems in later life. This measurement is an important way of checking how your child is growing.


I have received an NCMP letter

You may have received a letter advising that your child has been measured and weighed by the school nursing team as part of the National Child Measurement Programme.

Your child may have been identified to be above the healthy weight range for his/her age. Excess weight in childhood can lead to potential health risks later in life such as type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, impaired fertility, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, joint pain and some cancers.

BMI charts are accurate for the majority of the population; however, they occasionally indicate an inaccurate BMI range for children who are exceptionally tall, short or muscular build. If you feel this is the case, we would encourage you to discuss this with your child’s School Nurse for clarification.