A mum is furious after her son arrived home from school with Slimming World leaflet in his bag.
Mum-of-four Emma Barker was emptying her five-year-old son's backpack last Friday when she found the 'Be Slim for Life' booklet among his reading books.
After admitting her older son had already been worried about his size, Emma has now questioned the move.
She shared the booklet to other parents online – with the majority branding it 'disgusting' and claiming it could risk children developing eating disorders.
The 42-year-old mum claims it was 'appalling' of the school to allow the 'inappropriate' material to go out to impressionable youngsters.
Slimming World consultant Nikki Anderson came forward to confirm it was her who asked the school to put the flyers in bags.
She claimed they were intended for parents not the children and said there was 'no need' for Emma to be upset about it in the first place.
Emma, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, said: "I was quite shocked. It's appalling.
"There's so much pressure on kids at the minute already. They are meant to conform to be stick-thin insects.
"Then they're having this leaflet in their face saying 'be slim for life'.
"If they're not 'slim for life', does that mean they're not accepted?"
Emma posted online asking other parents for their opinions, at first fearing she may have been being over-sensitive.
She now claims her older son, who had seen the leaflet at home, has been asking how he can lose weight as a result.
Emma said: "I was taking out my son's work to do his homework and it was just there with all his books.
"I'm not sure what [school] year it stopped at. We have an eight-year-old too and he didn't bring one home.
"It was a little booklet and on the inside it showed you before and after pictures of two people, showing their weight loss journey.
"It was saying 'join Slimming World and you can be like this'. On the back it had the consultant's details.
"I thought to myself 'is it me? Am I being over sensitive?' But quite a lot of people agreed it was inappropriate.
"But I actually wanted to see what other people's opinions were. I wanted to see their views.
"My eight-year-old was weighed at school and they did the kids' height. I got this letter home saying he was obese.
"Now with the leaflet coming home, he's now looking at himself in the mirror saying 'mum, how can I get rid of this?'
"I explain to him that he's getting extra skin ready to grow upwards. [Now, we] have leaflets around when we've already got a child that's conscious of his weight."
After spotting Emma's post online, Nikki Anderson responded to confess that she was the Slimming World consultant who asked for the leaflets to be distributed.
However she claimed that they were not meant for the children to read.
Nikki wrote: "I am the consultant that had asked the school if possible for the leaflets to be put in to bags to reach the parents.
"The leaflets aren't given to the children to read or even a subject addressed on it to the child in class or in the leaflets.
"I had a lot of people come forward from it and actually asking me for more information or advice about it.
"It's something that is completely family based and works for people with children.
"It's not at any way aimed at kids, and who has time to stand and talk on school runs everyone is to busy to get to work or get home to start evening routines, and I have actually been there with my t-shirt and information to talk if anyone wanted to or needed.
"The children are addressed on healthy eating keeping active, healthy lifestyles to keep fit, there is not much difference except the front saying keep slim for life.
"It was in no way shape or form sent out to upset anyone, but it's an agree to disagree subject.
"You can't please everyone and if it's not for you please just pop it in the bin, there was no need for this post to be aired and also wouldn't of been difficult to find out it was myself and come to me directly, if you have [or] had any issues I will wait for you outside the school this morning please come and speak to me yourself."
Emma said: "The Slimming World lady […] had gone into the school and asked them to put leaflets in the kids' schoolbags – and they must have agreed to it because they got put in there.
"You would think [the school] would be quite switched on to it.
"The consultant was defending it saying she's a single parent and she was starting a new business as a Slimming World consultant and that if I had a problem with the leaflet I should have approached her outside school.
"She's saying she's promoting a business, but there's loads of businesses that don't go into the school.
"My nephew's a plasterer – he doesn't go to the school and hand out leaflets."
In response to Emma's post, other parents hit out at Nikki, questioning how it had been allowed.
Sam Byrne said: "Even if [the] leaflet is for parents it's in a child's school bag to read, which could cause eating disorders."
Sue Haywood said: "Disgraceful, they should be reported to the school board and Slimming World."
Charlie Walker said: "That's disgusting. How wrong of the school to do this, they obviously don't think it could [affect] kids."
A spokesperson from The Woodlands Community Primary School said: "The school unreservedly apologises for any distress caused to parents who found Slimming World leaflets in their child's bag.
"We would like to assure all parents that the school was acting in good faith in letting parents know about the existence of the classes but appreciate that putting the leaflets in children's bags was ill-advised."
When contacted for comment, Nikki Anderson said: "I've actually dealt with all of it and I don't actually have anything else to say on the situation."
A Slimming World spokesperson said: "Slimming World encourages healthy family eating and lifestyle. Consultants, who are self-employed and run local groups, are encouraged to share information about the support that they offer to people who are overweight in their communities.
"We work closely with organisations like schools, leisure centres and health groups to promote our programme. These leaflets were intended for the parents, not the children of this primary school and we apologise for any upset caused."
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