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Kids Getting Healthy When Families are Involved

Media Statement

Wednesday 13 September 2006

Kids Getting Healthy When Families are Involved

Twelve-year-old Ronald Jackson no longer spreads lashings of butter on his toast after he and his family took up the lifestyle change offered through the Healthy Kids Active Families programme.

Healthy Kids Active Families (HKAF) is a Sport Gisborne initiative helping children with a higher than recommended weight for their age get more active, eat healthy, and improve their overall enjoyment of life.

The unique thing about this programme according to Sport Gisborne’s Toni Hoskin is that the child’s family also take part so newly learned healthy behaviours are adopted by everyone living under the same roof.

“We involve the whole family because we were finding that’s where the children had been modelling certain bad habits like inactivity and poor eating.”

Over 40 families have been in the programme since July 2005 and every Tuesday they come together for an afternoon of games, sport and fun.

“Yeah, it’s good coming here,” says Ronald. “I used to put heaps of butter on my toast but now I don’t. I used to drink Raro and now we’re not allowed it.”

Ronald’s sister 15-year-old Lytton High School student Catherine Jackson is also taking part in the programme, and she used to find Tuesday afternoons tough.

“When I do running now I don’t get tired. I used to get tired just in the warm ups,” says Catherine.

Their mum Luya Hati says her children are incredibly important to her and that’s why she signed up with HKAF and attends the activity afternoon.

“I told Ronald that if he did it then I would do it with him as an incentive. Why not? The kids are everything to me.”

HKAF also has staff visit families in their homes to teach about balanced diets and healthier cooking techniques. Ms Hati says a valuable skill she has learned is how to interpret food labelling so she can make healthier choices for her kids.

Ongoing funding of the HKAF programme remains an issue and next month Toni Hoskin will be asking Tairawhiti District Health Board members for monetary help to continue. Turanganui Primary Health Organisation already contributes to HKAF.

“There is one young man who we have been able to help who has lost nine kilograms but more than that, I look at the change in him, the improved attitude, and what I notice is, how he shines.”

ENDS

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