A new health initiative intent on helping tackle childhood obesity has launched in Long Stratton, after statistics had revealed this area contained the highest levels of obesity in south Norfolk.
The ‘Healthy Habits’ scheme, created by South Norfolk Council, was trialled with the Year 4 and 5 pupils at St Mary’s Church of England Junior Academy on Wednesday, in response to obesity data published by the Healthy Child Programme.
The event saw children and their parents participate in fitness and healthy eating activities, with organisations such as Love Food Hate Waste, Born to Move, the Community Sports Foundation, Tesco, the Norfolk Libraries service and the Long Stratton Children’s Centre among those involved.
If the Healthy Habits initiative is successful, the council says, it will then be rolled out to other primary schools throughout the district.
Andrew Hughes, assistant head at St Mary’s Junior Academy, said the key was to encourage youngsters to take part in the opportunities that were already available to them in Long Stratton.
“I think a lot of it comes down to eating habits,” he told the Diss Express.
“We have a plethora of takeaways in Long Stratton, so I think it comes down to eating habits and diet.
“There are plenty of opportunities to do activties here. The facilities are there.
“For some children, there is a luack of activity at home. It’s about giving parents the ideas for their children.”
Yvonne Bendle, South Norfolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Early Intervention, described childhood obesity as “one of the most serious public health challenges we face”.
“We spend more each year on the treatment of obesity and diabetes than we do on the police, fire service and judicial system combined,” she said.
“Obesity is a complex challenge, but by working with schools we hope to help both children and their parents to encourage long-term change.
“All of the activities at our Healthy Habits event have been planned with professionals and have been designed to address the development of healthy lifestyles, parenting, eating behaviour, nutrition, play, inactivity and sleep.”