Green prescription changes lifestyle
Programme helps kids to get activeLARA WYATT
Palmerston North has lower levels of childhood obesity than New Zealand's overall rate, and family involvement is seen as the key to keeping it that way.
One local mother and son, Anne and Coby-Dean Goodin, 15, are a success story of the Active Families programme promoting active lifestyles and run by Sport Manawatu.
Coby-Dean and his mother got involved with the Active Families programme through a Green Prescription from their doctor which suggested physical activity and lifestyle changes.
Coby-Dean had health issues to do with weight and a periodic fever.
"We got involved because my son wasn't doing much other than playing X-box," Mrs Goodin said.
Home-schooled, Coby-Dean is part of the Sport Manawatu badminton group and is involved in soccer, gym and zumba. "He had put on a lot of weight, but he's losing that now."
In Palmerston North City Council's draft active recreation strategy, New Zealand was shown to have a childhood obesity level of 8.3 per cent while Palmerston North had a level of 5.2 per cent.
According to the 2006-07 New Zealand Health Survey, one in five children between the ages of 2 and 14 were overweight, with one in 12 considered obese.
Sport Manawatu's health and recreation manager Kelly Johnson said it was important to make exercise fun to ensure children wanted to continue it long term.
“It's things like being out with mum and dad or nana in the backyard playing cricket. It's not something that uses a lot of money. If a child can connect with something to get active they will want to continue it for a long period of time.”
Ms Johnson said family habits could be unhelpful. "It's not the child who has the ability to cook the meals.
"It can work a bit both ways. The child can influence the parents and parents influence the child."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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