A programme aimed at helping children manage their weight is coming to the Isle of Wight for the first time. The Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust has been successful in securing the MEND Programme (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) which is part of a national initiative offering free healthy lifestyle courses for overweight 7 to 13 year olds and their families.
The MEND Programme, which begins in October, is one of a number of community programmes currently being rolled out across the Island to help reduce levels of obesity, an issue which was highlighted in the 2008 Public Health report.
The Island's NHS is working in partnership with Sainsbury's Supermarket to run the course, which is fun and helps families improve their eating and exercise habits, children's fitness, physical activity levels, nutrition and self-esteem.
Each family will take part in 2-hour sessions, twice a week for 10 weeks. Thanks to funding from Sainsbury's, 12 places on the course worth up to £400 per child are being offered to families completely free of charge on a first come first served basis.
The MEND Programme is the UK's largest healthy lifestyle programme for overweight children and their parents. Rather than focusing on weight loss, the Programme uses a practical interactive learning approach to teach children and parents weight management skills. This includes inspiring families to adopt a healthier lifestyle and enjoy preparing and eating healthy foods as well as reading food labels and healthy shopping on a budget. There are also simple but exciting sessions which focus on making exercise fun again - especially for children who are not fans of traditional school sports.
Youngsters who take part change body shape, reduce their waistlines and achieve a healthier weight for their age and height, which results not only in them being healthier and fitter but also gaining in self esteem and confidence.
Rachel Squires, MEND Programme Manager in Public Health says, We are working hard to help improve the health of Island people. The MEND Programme can really change families lives. We offer a friendly, relaxed atmosphere to encourage children to give new things a go and show parents how they can be supportive and involve the whole family in making healthier choices and following an active lifestyle. Children become healthier and fitter while their self esteem and confidence increases greatly. We really hope families will take up the chance to improve their health.
Places on the MEND Programme are on a first come, first served basis.
Families interested in participating should contact Rachel Squires on 01983 814283 or visit www.mendprogramme.org and click on Join a MEND Programme.
Please note a parent or carer must accompany each child to every session.
Notes to Editor:
The Isle of Wight 2008 Public Health Report can be accessed on the Primary Care Trust website at http://www.iow.nhs.uk/uploads/Trust/AnnRep/AnnualReport2008.pdf
MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) is a social enterprise which was established in 2004 to enable a significant, measurable and sustained reduction in global childhood overweight and obesity levels. Its flagship intervention, the MEND Programme for 7 to 13 year old children was developed at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Institute of Child Health, University College London. The course is now available in more than 250 community locations nationwide and is completely free of charge to participants through support from the Big Lottery Wellbeing Fund, Sainsbury's supermarkets and a variety of Primary Care Trusts, Local Authorities and leisure services providers.
For general enquiries about MEND, please contact Caroline Swain on 020 7231 7225 firstname.lastname@example.org