A SCHEME to combat childhood obesity is starting further classes in Huddersfield this month.
The free MEND course – which stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It – aims to help families kick-start a healthier lifestyle in just 10 weeks.
The course – which starts on May 19 – is open to overweight children between the ages of seven and 13.
The move comes as figures show a third of children are now over the healthy weight range for their age and height.
Jessica Bostwick, MEND programme manager for Huddersfield, said: “This is a great time of year to start getting active as the weather gets warmer and we all start planning for the summer holidays.
“The MEND programme shows families ways to make practical, positive changes to what they eat and get fitter and more active whilst having lots of fun.
“What’s more, it really works and it’s free thanks to sponsorship from Sainsbury’s.”
Classes will be held at Newsome High School as part of a national network of 300 courses which has already helped 10,000 families improve their diets and activity levels.
The programme is made up of two-hour sessions held twice a week for 10 weeks.
Children and their families learn about eating and exercise habits to improve fitness, physical levels, nutrition and self-esteem.
The focus is not on weightloss, but on weight management.
Children and their parents are inspired to adopt healthier lifestyles and enjoy preparing and eating healthy foods.
They also get lessons in reading food labels and healthy shopping on a budget, as part of a supermarket tour.
Fun exercise ideas are also given to the youngsters with the help of the Youth Sport Trust charity.
The activities are designed to motivate those who do not enjoy traditional school sports.
MEND was set-up in 2004 to help reduce global childhood obesity levels.
The programme was developed at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College.
In the UK, around 26% of four to seven year olds are overweight.
And by 2020, it is estimated that one in five boys and one in three girls will be obese.
In 2007, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s announced it was sponsoring the scheme as part of a £3m project.
For further information or to register for the MEND programme call free on 0800 230 0263 or visit www.mendprogramme.org and click Sign Up to a Mend Programme.
A parent or care must accompany each child.