Lottery boost for River Park in fight against child obesity

River Park Leisure Centre is set to take major steps to tackle child obesity in the Winchester District thanks to a £47,000 grant from The Big Lottery Wellbeing Programme. 

With latest predictions showing that by 2020 at least 20% of boys and 33% of girls in the UK* will be obese unless action is taken now, the leisure centre has established a dedicated programme to tackle the issue.  Known as MEND programme (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it), the programme has been developed by leading national experts for local delivery.  It focuses on families with overweight or obese children and provides effective and practical solutions to treating obesity and ensuring effective long lasting results.   Healthy eating and active lifestyles are at the heart of the scheme.

The grant from the Big Lottery will fund 1,610 MEND programmes at 230 sites across England over the next four years, making MEND the largest integrated childhood obesity treatment and prevention programme in the UK.  It is also thought to be the largest of its kind globally.  The programme consists of 18 sessions over 10 weeks and includes fun exercise sessions for the children participating in the programme and theory sessions for the children and their families.

Paul Sacher, Research Director for MEND, said, "The aim of the MEND programme is for every overweight and obese child in the UK to have access to a local MEND programme to receive the support and knowledge required to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.'

Cllr Patricia Stallard, Winchester City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, added, "This is really positive news for the Winchester District. The River Park team is doing excellent work to encourage more and more of our residents to take advantage of the facilities it provides, dispelling the myth that leisure centres are just for those who are already fit and active.  I look forward to seeing real and lasting results from the MEND programme."

There is no cost to attend the MEND programme at River Park Leisure Centre, but the MEND team at the centre will need to assess whether children qualify for the programme based on their age, weight and health.

If you would like more information on MEND or would like to discuss getting your child on the programme then call River Park Leisure Centre on 01962 848 700 or 01962 848 706. The MEND Programme gets kids healthy and fit in only 10 weeks and - most importantly - helps them to stay that way.