River Park helps to tackle child obesity

River Park Leisure Centre is set to take a major role in helping to tackle child obesity in the Winchester District thanks to a £47,000 lottery grant.

The latest figures indicate that, by 2020, at least 20% of boys and 33% of girls in the UK will be classed as obese*.  With this in mind, the MEND programme (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition…Do it) has been developed to provide effective and practical solutions for families with overweight children. The scheme focuses on promoting healthy eating and healthy lifestyles and aims to provide long term results for the children who take part in it.

The grants from the Big Lottery Wellbeing Programme will be used to fund 1,610 MEND programmes at 230 sites across England, making MEND the largest childhood obesity treatment and prevention programme in the UK.

The programme consists of 18 sessions over a period of 10 weeks and includes fun exercise sessions along with theory sessions aimed at both 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 and 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 on offer. They are 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 are no costs involved in attending 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.

The MEND programme is designed to get children healthy and fit in only 10 weeks and, more importantly, it helps them to stay that way.

If you would like more information on MEND or would like to discuss getting your child on the programme, please call River Park Leisure Centre on 01962 848 700 or 01962 848 706.

*figures provided by the Department of Health.