Healthy living programme launch

A MAJOR healthy living programme will be launched tomorrow.Change4Life is supported by the Department of Health and is aiming to help families eat well, move about more and live longer.

A MAJOR healthy living programme will be launched tomorrow.

Change4Life is supported by the Department of Health and is aiming to help families eat well, move about more and live longer.

It is starting with a focus on children aged two to 11, and wants to reduce the numbers of overweight and obese children to the levels they were in 2000, by 2020.

Tomorrow's launch is in Cambridge at a summit chaired by Paul Cosford, director of public health for the East of England.

The launch includes eight behaviour changes, which are:

Swapping sugary snacks and drinks for ones that are lower in sugar.

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Children having regular, proper meals as part of a routine.

Making sure children get the right portion sizes for their age.

Controlling how many snacks children have.

Getting five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Cutting back on fatty food.

An hour of activity a day, as well as spending less time sitting down.

One person who has already benefited from these changes is Oliver Colvin, aged eight, from Lowestoft, who took part in the Mend programme, which stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It! The two-hour, twice-a-week programme combined exercise with learning about healthy living, and is offered free by NHS Yarmouth and Waveney.

His mother Amanda, 33, said: 'He was not really overweight, but he has been bullied at school and called fatty, stuff like that.'

She said he had lost 'inches from his waist' and was healthier as a result. Oliver loved it. He thought it was fantastic.

'Before, every time he felt hungry or bored he would go for the cupboard and have crisps or sweets. Now he realises he is not always hungry, sometimes it is boredom or cravings, and he is more likely to get up and go out instead.'

The campaign is also promoting the efforts of Norwich schools to encour-age pupils to walk or cycle to school.

Costessey Infants School has managed to cut the numbers of children being driven to school from 52pc from 37pc. The school has tried a range of measures including a giant millipede which children can attach a pair of legs to if they have walked to school, 'Steppers' passports' which are stamped for every walk to school, and small rewards, such as a badge or an umbrella, once they have walked a certain number of times.

Headteacher Rosemary Kett said: 'We try to do something slightly different every term. We have got leaflets coming out shortly showing short-cuts to the school. We suggest safe parking places five minutes away and 10 minutes away, so even the parents that have to drive can still do a short walk to school.'