Free-of-charge help for obese city children

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ONE third of all Year Six children in Milton Keynes are either overweight or obese, the Citizen can reveal.

One in five Reception Year children are also too heavy, with almost 10 per cent already classed as obese.

These figures are taken from the National Child Measurement Programme (2010/11 results), where the weight and height of pupils in Reception and Year 6 are recorded.

Though the statistics are in line with the national average for child obesity, they pose a major risk factor for diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

But the new year could bring new hope for overweight youngsters all over Milton Keynes as the city repeats its successful Motiv8 programme.

The programme is commissioned by the NHS Milton Keynes, and delivered by the MK Dons SET; it is a free ten-week “weight management” programme for children aged five to 16.

“The children are NOT put on diets,” stressed spokesman Jemma Murray. “The emphasis is on fun, physical activity and practical learning to improve the whole family’s nutrition, fitness levels and health.”

Parents are encouraged to accompany the child to the after-school sessions, held at Bletchley Leisure Centre, Stantonbury Leisure Centre or Blackberry Gymnasium.

They are led by trained professionals in nutrition, health and physical activity –including MK Dons players.

The children are encouraged to try their hands at street dance, cheerleading and even rock climbing, said Jemma.

“They are also shown how to make healthy choices about food, such as switching to skimmed milk, swapping sweets for dried fruit and eating vegetables as snacks.”

The youngsters are weighed at intervals after the programme and many are found to have made positive improvements to their health.

NHS Milton Keynes Health Improvement Specialist Sarah Worbey said: “There is no doubt that Motiv8 can be successful in changing lifestyles and eating habits for the entire family.”

To enrol call 622885 or email motiv8@mkdonsset.com.