Helping families to a healthy weight this Easter

Press Release: 14/02/2014

Children on the MEND course preparing food

A new programme that will help families lead healthy happy lives is starting for five-to-seven-year-olds this Easter in Winchester.

The MEND programme (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition…Do It!) provides ten weeks of fun, interactive group sessions to promote healthy lifestyles and address issues arising from being overweight. It helps families to understand the complexities of things such as food labelling, different types of food, how much you need, and fun ways to be active as a family.

The programme, commissioned by Public Health at Hampshire County Council, co-ordinated by Sport Hampshire & IOW, and delivered by Winchester City Council is free to join.

Children can enjoy active play sessions as well as learn with their family about healthy food choices. Parents will also be invited to discuss ways to help encourage behaviour change such as reducing the amount of time their children spend watching television, and positive goal-setting and rewards.

Local GP from the Friarsgate Practice, Dr Niki Wright understands the value of the programme and said:

These schemes are great to develop an understanding of weight-management for the whole family and give people the chance to take the correct steps to becoming healthier. It’s a fantastic scheme and I would urge local people who feel they would like to get involved to speak to their GP or the City Council about signing up.

Data from the National Child Measurement Programme shows that in Hampshire one in five children in Year R are categorised as either overweight or obese. This figure rises to one in four for Year 6 children.

Winchester’s scheme will take place at Stanmore Primary School on Tuesday evenings from 4:15pm to 6:00pm. The new programme starts on 29 April.

Programmes are for families with children aged five to seven who are above a healthy weight (overweight or obese). You can check your child’s weight to see if they are eligible at www.mendcentral.org/bmi

Families need to be able to commit to the ten-week programme and have a willingness to make changes to their lifestyle. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.