Sep 16 2011

Olympic athlete helps families get fit and healthy

Former Olympic athlete, Adam Whitehead, is launching a range of new free healthy lifestyle programmes to encourage children and adults in Tower Hamlets to eat more healthily and be more active.

Over a quarter of 10-11 year olds living in Tower Hamlets are overweight or obese - this is the sixth highest in the country. Thirteen per cent of children starting school in Tower Hamlets are obese.

The launch of the free healthy lifestyle programmes in Tower Hamlets is part of the Building Powerful Communities partnership between Public Health Tower Hamlets, Barts and the London NHS Trust, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Bupa and MEND, that aims to empower children and adults living in the borough to lead healthier lifestyles and become more active.


The MEND 10-week after school healthy lifestyle programmes for children aged 2-7, kick off next week in various schools and leisure centres alongside the existing MEND programme for 7–11 year olds.  Together they will help Tower Hamlets families get fitter, healthier and happier. Run by Barts and the London’s Weight Management Service for Children and supported by Bupa volunteers, the MEND programmes aim to help about 900 children and their families by March 2013.

On the MEND programme, families learn about nutrition and how to maintain a balanced diet. This is followed by fun games and activities to get the children moving while their parents talk about health in a supportive environment.


Olympian and Commonwealth gold medallist swimmer Adam Whitehead has been provided as an athlete mentor by the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust. He will mentor over 20 children on the MEND 5-7 programme, helping them to make gradual changes to the food they eat and to their levels of exercise.


At the launch event Adam will showcase the free healthy eating and activity programmes that are available to Tower Hamlets children and adults. Children who have recently completed the MEND programme will show other families what they have learnt on the programme. These activities will include:


•    learning how much fat and sugar some snacks contain
•    making fruit smoothies and kebabs
•    playing fun active games with Adam Whitehead
•    learning new fun and active ways of playing (ages 2-4 and their parents)


Adam Whitehead says, “I’m really looking forward to working with the families in Tower Hamlets. MEND is a great programme – through which I hope to help the kids set realistic healthy eating goals and introduce new fun ways to keep active. Athletes can play a really crucial role in inspiring kids to make healthy lifestyle changes and I hope to have a positive impact on the programme.”


Esther Trenchard-Mabere, co-director of public health at Tower Hamlets at NHS East London and the City says, “The MEND programmes are an excellent way for families to gain life-long skills to live happier, healthier lives in Tower Hamlets. The Building Powerful Communities partnership is committed to supporting children and parents to gain the confidence to eat more healthily and become more active on a daily basis.”


For more information about MEND programmes in Tower Hamlets please contact Arlene van Tonder, email: Arlene.vantonder@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk or call 020 8223 8485.


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Notes to editor
For media enquiries or to speak with a case study family, please contact Claire Nevill on 020 7231 7225 or claire.nevill@mendcentral.org For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07515 612264
About Building Powerful Communities
•    Building Powerful Communities is a partnership between Public Health Tower Hamlets, Barts and the London NHS Trust, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Bupa and MEND to empower children and adults in Tower Hamlets to eat more healthily and be more active.
About MEND
•    MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) is the leading provider of free healthy lifestyle programmes for families in local communities.
•    MEND works with public, private and third sector partners to provide a range of healthy lifestyle programmes for families with children aged between two and 13 years (MEND 2-4, MEND 5-7 and MEND 7-13).
•    Since it was founded in 2004, MEND has helped over 25,000 families across the UK to become fitter, healthier and happier by providing information about healthy eating and how to keep active.
•    Developed in partnership with child health experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the University College London’s Institute of Child Health, independent research shows that the MEND 7-13 programme helps children lose weight and improve their fitness and self-esteem.
•    www.mendcentral.org
 
About Bupa

•    Bupa’s purpose is to help people lead longer, healthier, happier lives.  
•    A leading international healthcare group, we offer personal and company health insurance, run care homes for older people and hospitals, and provide workplace health services, health assessments and chronic disease management services, including health coaching, and home healthcare.  
•    With no shareholders, we invest our profits to provide more and better healthcare.  We are committed to making quality, patient-centred, affordable healthcare more accessible in the areas of wellness, chronic disease management and ageing.
•    Employing nearly 52,000 people, Bupa has operations around the world, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, New Zealand and the USA, as well as Hong Kong, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, India, China and across Latin America.  
•    For more information, visit www.bupa.com.  

About Tower Hamlets Weight Management Service – Children and Maternity

•    The Weight Management service provides healthy lifestyle programmes for children up to 18 and their families
•    It is part of Barts and the London Trust and is based at Mile End Hospital but provides services from Mile End Leisure Centre, schools and other settings.
•    For more information contact the Manager, Hannah Pheasant on 020 82238485 Service
•    The service is funded by Public Health in Tower Hamlets as part of its local Healthy Borough Programme which is leading the fight to tackle obesity in Tower Hamlets.

About Barts and The London NHS Trust

•    Barts and The London Children’s Hospital has 130 beds for children – including premature baby cots – and London’s biggest paediatric Accident & Emergency department.
•    The hospital is one of the leading children’s hospitals in the UK and treats 40,000 children and young people each year from London, Essex and across the UK and Europe.
•    Tower Hamlets Weight Management Service – Children and Maternity is part of the Trust and based at Mile End Hospital. It also provides services from Mile End Leisure Centre, schools and other locations.
•    The Weight Management service provides healthy lifestyle programmes for children aged up to 18 years and their families. The service is funded by Public Health in Tower Hamlets as part of its local Healthy Borough Programme which is leading the fight to tackle obesity in Tower Hamlets.
•    The Trust’s full portfolio of specialist centres includes the country’s biggest heart attack centre, leading edge cancer specialties and a highly successful fertility centre.

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