New course MENDs local kids’ health
A popular after school scheme which aims to improve the health of local children and their families is being brought to Bridgend County Borough this month.
The Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do it! (MEND) programme is being run at local leisure centres by Halo Leisure through its partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council.
The FREE 10-week programme teaches families simple and fun ways to keep active and also includes a visit to a local supermarket where the children and their parents will learn how to interpret different food labels and maintain a balanced diet.
The programme was originally developed in 2004 by MEND in partnership with child health experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London’s Institute of Child Health, and has so far supported over 20,000 families across the UK to be fitter, healthier and happier.
Stuart Mitchell, Programme Manager for MEND at Halo Leisure Centres in Bridgend County Borough, said: “We all lead such hectic lives that eating healthily can sometimes drop off the priority list. Research shows that a whole range of factors - from the way food is produced to the way it’s promoted, and from the way we're taught about food to the way we're encouraged to cook it - can lead to a way of eating that slowly but surely leads to an unhealthy weight. At MEND, families learn how they can make small changes to get back on a healthier track.”
“MEND is a meeting place for families who want to do something about it, and want to do something about it right now. There's no lectures, no laws about what you eat or don't eat. We talk honestly and sensitively about weight and the best ways to get your kids to be more active, even if they don’t like PE, and to eat more of the foods that are tasty and healthy.
“Kids love the fun activities and games, while the parents tell us that they enjoy learning about healthy eating and swapping tips with other parents. As well as losing weight, kids leave the programme with more energy and a boost in self-esteem”.
Councillor Lyn Morgan, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “With so many tempting sugary treats on offer at supermarkets and such confusing messages on food packaging, it’s no surprise that families sometimes don’t quite get their diets right.
“There are many benefits associated with living healthier and more active lives, including improved general health and wellbeing and being more confident and better self-esteem. It’s great that, through working together with Halo Leisure, we can introduce local children and their families to these benefits.”
Independent research conducted by the University College London’s Institute of Child Health found that children who attended the MEND programme experienced long-term health benefits, including long-term weight loss and improvements in fitness and self-esteem.
The programme is being held between 4.30 – 6.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Bridgend Recreation Centre, and 4.30 – 6.30pm at Maesteg Swimming Pool on Mondays and Maesteg Sports Centre on Wednesdays.
Places are limited, so families interested in adopting a healthier and more active lifestyle should book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
For more information or to book visit www.haloleisure.org.uk/mend or call 01656 678862.