Childhood obesity – the local picture

The latest National Childhood Measure Programme (NCMP) results have just been released and show the percentage of children locally that are overweight or obese is less than the national average.

In Brighton and Hove more children have been recorded as being a healthy weight over the past year compared to previous years - a reduction from 17.7% to 13.5% for children age 10-11 years old.

However, it is not time to be complacent as England as a whole continues to have one of the highest levels of obesity in Europe.

To address the problem of obesity, Brighton & Hove Food Partnership’s Healthy Weight Service was set up in 2008 and continues to provide a range of healthy lifestyle programmes free to children and their families. They include Family Shape Up, which provides a combination of healthy eating advice and exercise, catering for all ages and abilities. We took some time to catch up with one of the families who recently attended Family Shape Up.

Lucy and Millie’s Family Shape Up journey

Why did you decide to join Family Shape Up?
Lucy:
We moved down to Brighton in August and I decided as part of our new life we would look to become healthier. I already had my concerns about my weight and was starting to worry about Millie's too. So, I spoke to my doctor who discussed the option of attending a course together and he referred us to Family Shape Up. 

How is Family Shape Up benefitting your family?
Lucy:
To be honest it has made us examine what we eat! Millie says I am always checking the labels to see the nutritional information and ingredients list. We have swapped some foods that are high in fat or sugar for healthier alternatives and still allow ourselves a treat! Meals are more balanced using the Eatwell plate and portion sizes are smaller too. 

Millie: We get to do exercise, running around and really fun games. I have made some new friends too. 

What are the biggest changes that you’ve made since attending Family Shape Up?
Lucy:
We are now more active as a family and try to exercise much more often. Also, I try to cook more foods from scratch so I know what is being added. Meal times are not as rushed as we ensure that we sit at the table and turn the TV off and enjoy our dinner together. 

Millie: I think about food differently and I eat more fruit and vegetables. 

Have you noticed any health improvements since attending Family Shape Up?
Lucy:
Both Millie and I have more energy since starting Family Shape Up and actually enjoy exercising. We have lost a little weight and are beginning to feel healthier. 

Millie: I can move faster now and I have more energy and feel happier about myself. 

Would you recommend Family Shape Up to other families across Brighton and Hove?
Lucy:
Yes, definitely Family Shape Up has helped us to change our lifestyle for the better. 

Millie: Yes, it's really fun for the kids as we get to do sports and the adults learn interesting stuff to be healthier. It had changed our lives. 

You can find out more about the NCMP and the great work that’s going on locally here. To book your place on our next Family Shape Up programme email or call 01273 431 703.