Healthy Hearts Programme Launched For Preschoolers
This morning, the Canterbury District Health Board will officially launch the Healthy Hearts Under 5s programme at the Te Amorangi Richmond pre-school, Woodham Road. This is a joint initiative between the CDHB, the National Heart Foundation and the Rainbow Childrens Trust.
A team of health promotion experts has been established to support early childhood centres working towards the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart Award programme. To date 81 pre-schools in Canterbury have joined the programme.
The CDHB has committed $300,000 to the programme over a two year time span to enable pre-school centres to educate children and families as to the benefits of better nutrition and increased physical activity.
A recent survey of New Zealand children over 5 years of age reported that 31% are overweight or obese. The statistics are even higher for Maori and Pacific Island children.
‘This is one of the important reasons that we are educating children before they reach school age,’ said CDHB Chief Executive Jean O’Callaghan.
‘We have joined together with the Heart Foundation and the Rainbow Children’s Trust to develop this programme and we are delighted with the response to date.’
Children and their families are educated to learn about healthy food choices, and are also encouraged to be more physically active.
‘With obesity on the rise amongst young people and with statistics for diabetes, heart disease and stroke increasing, we must educate children at the earliest possible age to know what they are eating and to understand the implications.’
Mrs O’Callaghan said there were already similar programmes running for primary and secondary school students.