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Hampshire Families Helped to a Healthy Weight

A programme to help families lead healthy and happy lives is coming to Hampshire in January 2014. The MEND programme (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do It!) provides families with fun, interactive group sessions that 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, and co-ordinated by Sport Hampshire & IOW, 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.

Programmes are being run across the county for children above a healthy weight. Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Liz Fairhurst, said: "Being above a healthy weight during childhood can lead to serious problems later in life and increases the likelihood of developing conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

"The MEND approach is not a diet, and no foods are off-limits. It simply aims to empower children and adults to become fitter, healthier and happier through a greater understanding of food and exercise, and to reach or maintain a healthier weight."

One mum who knows the value of the programme is Rachel Fisk from Gosport. Rachel and her 6 year old daughter Lily attended sessions at Bridgemary School run by the Gosport School Sport Partnership. “I had trouble saying no to Lily and was giving her portions of food which were too large for her to keep a healthy weight,” said Rachel. “Lily enjoyed taking part in the physical activities with other children and trying different healthy foods. It helped me as well. I know more about food, including what the power foods are and about exercises we can enjoy together.”

Health professionals and teachers can refer families to the programme or they can encourage families to self-refer directly by visiting Mend Central or by contacting their local programme manager, listed below.

For details about programmes across the county please visit the Hampshire Healthy Weights Strategy website

Upcoming programmes

Eastleigh: Begins on 13 January on Monday’s from 4-6pm at Pavilion on the Park for five to seven year olds. To book a place on this programme please call Wendy Sheaf or Alison Solomon, Eastleigh Programme Managers on 023 8068 4813 or email wendy.sheaf@eastleigh.gov.uk or alisonso@eastleigh.gov.uk

Fareham: Begins on 16 January on Thursday’s from 4-6pm at Fareham Leisure Centre for five to seven year olds.  To book a place on this programme please call Tom Harding, Fareham Programme Manager on 0780 0853 909 or email tomharding@slm-ltd.co.uk

Rushmoor: Begins on 17 January on Friday’s from 4-6pm at the Connaught Leisure Centre for five to seven year olds.  To book a place on this programme please call Linda Blundell, Rushmoor Programme Manager on 07557 334155 or email linda.blundell@rushmoor.gov.uk

Rushmoor: Begins on 13 January on Monday’s and Wednesday’s from 4.15-6.15pm at Connaught Leisure Centre for seven to 13 year olds. To book a place on this programme please call Linda Blundell, Rushmoor Programme Manager on 07557 334155 or email linda.blundell@rushmoor.gov.uk

Winchester: Begins on 17 January on Friday’s from 4.15-6.15pm at Stanmore School for five to seven year olds. To book a place on this programme please call Charlotte Niblock 01962 848 532 or email cniblock@winchester.gov.uk

Basingstoke: Begins on 21 January on Tuesday’s from 4-6pm at Basingstoke Sports Centre for five to seven year olds. To book a place on this programme please call Emma Cameron, Basingstoke Programme Manager on 01256 302249 or email Emma.Cameron@sportscentre.org.uk

New Forest: Begins on 27th January on Mondays from 4-6pm at Cadland Primary School for 5-7 year olds.  To book a place on this programme please call Vicki Clarke, New Forest Programme Manager on 023 8028 5588 or email Vicki.Clarke@NFDC.gov.uk

Havant: Begins on 27 January on Monday’s and Wednesday’s from 4-6pm at Havant Leisure Centre for seven to 13 year olds. To book a place on this programme please call Sarah Moulds, Havant Programme Manager on 023 9248 8477 or email smoulds@horizonlc.com

Havant: Begins on 7th May on Wednesday’s from 4-6pm at Havant Leisure Centre for 5-7year olds. To book a place on this programme please call Sarah Moulds, Havant Programme Manager on 023 9248 8477 or email smoulds@horizonlc.com

Gosport: Begins on 3 March on Monday’s and Wednesday’s from 4-6pm at Bridgemary School for seven to 13 year olds.  To book a place on this programme please call Scott Sivier, Gosport Programme Manager on 07920 424065 or email s.sivier@bridgemary.hants.sch.uk

East Hampshire: Begins on 23rd April on Wednesdays from 3.45-5.45pm at Alton College for 5-7 year olds. To book a place on this programme please call Alison Cliffe, East Hampshire Programme Manager on 07540930044 or email a.cliffe@bushyleaze.hants.sch.uk


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