Parents in Sheffield concerned about their child’s weight can now refer themselves for free advice and support, thanks to a pioneering programme from Zest.
The Children’s Weight Management Service, provided by Zest for Health, is designed to help children and young people achieve and maintain a healthy weight through education and exercise.
The 12-week programme helps parents and their children aged seven to 15 to focus on key areas to target weight issues, which include healthy eating and physical activity.
Previously children could only be referred to the service by their GP. However, now parents are able to refer their children directly.
The whole family is encouraged to attend sessions.
The programme leaders say they believe that tackling children’s weight problems requires a lifestyle change and acknowledge that it can be difficult for anyone to break their bad habits alone.
Health services manager Rachel Bunting said: “Often the problem is recognising your child is overweight and knowing where to go for help. We’re hopeful that the introduction of self-referrals will see an increase in the number of families receiving help.
“The programme aims to get children into healthy habits, for example encouraging children to walk to school instead of being driven and choosing to cook using fresh ingredients rather than processed or ready-made foods.”
Zest will also be running free workshops at various venues throughout the summer holidays.
The workshops will be a fun, two-hour interactive session. Families will learn about healthy lifestyles and get a taster for what help the programme can offer when it returns in September.
On Saturday Zest are holding a danceathon from 11am until 3pm outside their centre at 118 Upperthorpe. Try out zumba, bokwa, ballroom and street dance.
Their playscheme runs until August 16 at Netherthorpe School Sports Hall. To book, ring Philip Heighway on 07970 679235.
For information about the Children’s Weight Management Service, call 0114 2702040 or visit www.zestcommunity.co.uk.