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Nutritionist visits for overweight kids now reimbursed
Children who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight can now get reimbursed by their health insurance for appointments with nutritionists. This was previously only available to adults.
Federal health insurance agency Inami will cover 10 sessions with a nutritionist over a two-year period for kids aged six to 17. There is a co-pay of €5 for a 30-minute session and €10 for a 60-minute session.
To get reimbursed, the child must be referred to a nutritionist by their doctor and fall outside of normal parameters in the body mass index, taking into consideration age and gender. The reimbursement also covers parents visiting a nutritionist alone to discuss their child’s diet.
“More and more young people are becoming overweight,” said federal health minister Maggie De Block, who approved the new reimbursement. “This has psychological as well as serious physical consequences. It’s crucial to get professional help at a young age in order to prevent lifelong weight problems.”
Overweight children run a higher risk of medical problems in the future, such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. According to the Flemish Nutritionists Association (VBVD), it’s important to work with both the children and their parents to tackle diet and exercise issues early.
“Nutritionists are well trained in coaching children and their parents,” says VBVD chair Rian Van Schaik. “We don’t deprive the children of anything but try to help them make more healthy food choices and to improve their overall lifestyle.”
The reimbursement of nutritionists session can count on a budget of €5 million a year. This is seen as an investment in controlling medical costs in the future. The VBVD website has a list of certified nutritionists in Flanders.
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