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Fight your family flab with Captain FAB!

Fight your family flab with Captain FAB!

South Auckland has a new super hero and he is recruiting flab fighters for his next crusade. Samoan soul singer Lapi Mariner is 'Captain FAB' and the new ambassador for the University of Auckland's Fanau FAB (Food, Activity, Behavior) research programme.

Aimed at Pacific families with at least one child aged between 5-12 years old, the FREE eight to 10 week programme gives families an opportunity to lose weight together and learn about living a healthier lifestyle. 100 families have been recruited and only100 places remain, with registrations closing at the end of September! “I wanted to be an ambassador for this programme because I personally know the benefits of healthy living,” says Lapi. “I am on my own weight loss journey and have already shed 30kgs. There is an obesity problem in our community. People are suffering with high blood pressure and diabetes. We don't want our children to follow in those footsteps.

“I see my kids' friends going to school with a fizzy drink, a meat pie and a big packet of chips. That's their lunch. This shows me that there is a need for more nutritional education for our families. My children are ambassadors for Fanau FAB too and I hope that encourages their friends and peers to get on board. We need 100 families. We need you!”

The study, led by Dr Ofa Dewes of the University of Auckland's School of Population Health, Pacific Health, aims to find the best way to help our fanau (children) to grow into a healthy weight, and for adults to reduce and maintain a healthy weight. The main focus of the research is to monitor the progress of the children.

“Our children are our future,” says Dr Dewes. “It is important we give them the skills and knowledge to lead long, active lives. The results from this programme will allow our research team to develop a long-term weight management programme for Pacific children and their families.”

Participation is entirely voluntary and, to be eligible, families only need to meet four simple criteria. They must belong to a Pacific ethnic group, live in South Auckland (Mangere, Otara, Papatoetoe or nearby these centres), have at least one child between the ages of 5-12 years that needs help to manage their weight, and have at least one parent or caregiver available to attend weekly sessions.

At an initial interview the family will learn about the programme and if the criteria is met, will be selected to participate.

There is also a free babysitting service available so parents don't have to worry about finding a place to take their younger children while they participate in the workshop. “I encourage all our families to be part of this programme,” adds Lapi. “The fact that it is for parents and children makes it so much stronger than targeting an individual. We know that as Pacific people, our families come first. Together, we are powerful. So lets prove it.

“And imagine how much fun it's going to be when we bring our friends and families along, too. I don't know any Pacific Islander that doesn't have fun and a good laugh when they get together with their peers!”

Key information:

• The Fanau FAB programme is run by the University of Auckland's School of Population Health, Pacific Health, and funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand

• Families benefit from the programme by receiving FREE training and advice from professionals, education about physical activity and nutrition to aid in living a healthier lifestyle, FREE babysitting services for younger children and in many cases, a decrease in weight.

• 100 families need to be recruited by the end of September in order to commence programmes in October. • 200 South Auckland, Pacific Island families will benefit from this project!


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