Experts MEND a hand to tackle child obesity

PUBLISHED: 13:00 25 June 2011

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OVERWEIGHT children as young as seven will be taken on supermarket visits and given lifestyle coaching from health experts as part of a new course running in Worle from September.

The 10-week MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition... Do it!) programme will teach youngsters and their families about nutrition and how to lead healthier lives.

The course is aimed at children aged seven to 13 whose weight is above the healthy range for their age and height.

A spokesman for the initiative said: “MEND provides programmes, services and resources to help children and families learn how to improve their health, fitness and the way they feel about their bodies.

“All of these elements help families manage their weight better and lead healthier lives, contributing to national and international efforts to prevent and treat obesity in children.”

Established in 2004, the MEND programme was devised at the world-renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the University College London Institute of Child Health.

It works with councils and other partners to deliver more than 400 courses across the world, which have benefited more than 15,000 families to date.

With one in three children in Worle above a healthy weight, the free programme aims to help families become fitter, healthier and happier.

The course will run at Worle Community School in Redwing Drive and is funded by North Somerset Council.

Children and their families will also be taken on a visit to a supermarket where they can learn how to read food labels.

Tracey Dyer, MEND’s programme manager for Worle, said: “We all lead such hectic lives that eating healthily can sometimes drop off the priority list. At MEND, families learn how they can make small changes to get back on a healthier track.

“Kids love the fun activities and games, while the parents tell us they enjoy learning about healthy eating and swapping tips with other parents.

“As well as losing weight, kids leave the programme with more energy and a boost in self-esteem.”

Places are limited, so if you think your child is above a healthy weight and would like to find out more about MEND call 0800 2300263 or visit www.mendcentral.org

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