School pupils and their families are reaping the rewards of a fun programme that champions healthy food and physical activity. You can watch a video of it in action.
Nearly a third of children in England aged between two and 15 years old are overweight or obese, according to a survey carried out by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Children and young people are generally becoming overweight earlier and staying overweight for longer.
But the Active Living Fun food In Ealing (ALFIE) programme in Ealing is doing all it can to tackle that statistic locally by supporting families with children aged between five and 13 who have been identified as being above a healthy weight.
It runs fun and interactive workshops that focus on healthy eating and nutrition, including cooking clubs; alongside physical activities that help improve fitness and build confidence, including ‘active play’ sessions and football camps. There are even 10-week summer boot camps for families.
The focus is on motivating children and the whole family to explore healthier lifestyle choices together and showing them how even making small changes can make a big difference.
ALFIE is organised by One You Ealing, a health and wellbeing service which is commissioned by Ealing Council.
‘Feedback has been really good’
Nicole Stephens, the programme’s co-ordinator, said: “Some children are above a healthy weight for their age. Physical activity levels are often not being met, because children should be having 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Our programme is about improving this with our pupils and also promoting a healthy lifestyle.
“The programme has been running for a number of years and the feedback has been really good. I have had parents and children tell me that they now read through labels, and that they have had a lot of fun doing it. They have also tried out new sports and made a lot of new friends from the programme.”
The impact of the lessons has been very positive for pupils and their families, with 89% of children reducing or maintaining their body mass index (BMI) on completion of the programme.
Alongside the positive results to their lifestyle the pupils that attend have a lot of good things to say about ALFIE, with children telling us that they now had more energy and had learned about eating more healthily and drinking more water.
There is more information on the healthy lifestyle programme on the Ealing families directory website.
ALFIE is part of the One You Ealing service – a health and wellbeing service commissioned by Ealing Council for children and adults living, working, studying or with a GP in the borough.
This programme is one of a number of healthy eating initiatives that the council supports.