The programme is designed to inspire children (aged 7 to 16 years) and their families to lead healthier lives by improving their diet and their personal hygiene, better preparing the children for education. Fit4YOUth has chosen to involve children of this age because of the ‘striking behaviour changes’ that are seen between childhood and adolescence, including a suppressed reaction to satiety and reduction in physical activity. Education at this age encourages them to adopt healthier choices and behaviour, potentially slowing or reversing the obesity epidemic.
Obesity not only leads to physiological health problems but also psychological and social issues such as bullying and stigmatisation. Therefore, Fit4YOUth takes a holistic view of healthy living for children, helping to develop a healthy lifestyle for the next generation. In Berkshire, approximately one-third of children aged 10 and 11 years are classed as overweight/obese and this project, delivered by Berkshire Youth, is working to bring those numbers down.
The programme and individual workshops take the groups through sessions designed to provide key health messages around nutrition, physical activity and hygiene. Physical activity is a key part of the sessions, encouraging the young people to become more active in fun games and non-curricular sports. Interventions that involve physical activity and education through speciality nutrition education programmes and experimental learning approaches have been shown to be more effective in providing long term behaviour change and healthy weight maintenance.
Evidence from research shows that schools and youth clubs are the ‘universal catchment setting for children’ and offer ideal locations for this type of intervention, where Fit4YOUth instructors use their knowledge to deliver potentially life-changing experiences with passion and integrity. The involvement of parents and a teacher/youth leader are key in promoting a consistent message and providing empowerment to the parents to make positive lifestyle changes. Whilst schools and youth clubs play a huge role in child nutrition and physical activity, the home environment and dinner routines are also key factors which influence obesity risk, which is why parent involvement is key to the success of Fit4YOUth. Other benefits of parental, teacher and youth leader involvement include positive role modelling and a strong support network for the children taking part.
For more information please contact us by email or phone 0118 909 0927.