A nine-week programme to get children especially the eight to 12-year-olds in shape and in the pink of health has recorded success. The MEND programme, as it is called, got underway in 100 locations across England.
This programme is opportune, considering that 30% of children in UK are labeled as overweight or obese. MEND - for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, and Do-it took charge of more than 1000 children. The programme focused on inculcating healthy habits in the whole family.
Mother of Mathew Williams who lost a good amount of weight through this program said, "It involved lessons about nutrition and diet and how to analyze food labels and food items so that you were in control of how much fat, salts and sugar you were taking in so that you could make the right choices."
Professor Alan Lucas, Institute of Child Health, explaining the benefits of the programme said, "We do measure them, but their weight is just one of the things we measure. It's more about living healthily."
During the study, half of the children were put through the programme while the rest were left with their own ways. The finding revealed that children in the programme group portrayed a BMI which was two points less than the non-intervention group. They also indulged in three more hours of physical exercise per week. Their confidence level had shot up by 10%.The children who underwent a year of the programme greatly benefited. Their fitness and overall well-being had improved tremendously.
Louise Diss, from The Obesity and Awareness and Solutions Trust (Toast), raising a toast to the programme said, "The fantastic thing is that along with Toast philosophy, what they do is look at the physical and the psychology at the same time."
Professor Alan Lucas, director of the Medical Research Council Childhood Nutrition Research Centre at the Institute of Child Health, said: "Obesity is an immense public health issue in both immediate and long term health. It costs the nation £7 billion a year. This popular community-based programme has the potential to underpin effective national strategies for obesity treatment and prevention."
The programme envisages assisting 26000 children across 300 areas.