Getting healthy a worthwhile family affair
Overweight parents in Manawatu are being encouraged to get healthy with their plump children and filter down the effects of lifestyle change.
Several families use the Sport Manawatu Active Families scheme to lose weight together and learn about nutrition and exercise.
Sport Manawatu green prescription co-ordinator Katrina Gemmell said the programme encouraged life-long habit changes.
"It's a free community programme designed for children and their families to create awareness of the benefits of increased physical activity and healthy lifestyle habits.
"We are seeing a lot of children with weight issues, but how we approach things is we don't directly confront them with those, we walk them through the process of healthy change," Ms Gemmell said.
This week the Manawatu Standard reported an Otago University study had found some parents were unaware their children were overweight because their own lifestyle choices clouded their judgment.
"If you don't have the parents on board, it makes it so much harder to get the child to make that positive change," Ms Gemmell said.
"You need to educate the families as a whole, starting from the parents because that's what is going to get the filter-down effect and have a positive effect on the whole family."
Richard Lambert, from Palmerston North, signed his family up to Active Families last year after his daughter Teia suffered a brain injury in 2006 which led to an eating disorder.
Since entering the programme, the family had lost a combined 30 kilograms by changing their eating and exercising habits.
"Getting involved stemmed from Teia's brain injury which she developed an eating disorder from," Mr Lambert said.
"We went to a dietitian who said we should go to Active Families - it opened our eyes to a lot of things, nutrition and exercise."
He said the family had always done their own thing before joining the programme.
"We did have some problems with weight before, the food we were eating wasn't good for us. Now we eat healthy and exercise together - we've lost a lot weight as a family and the supportive environment helps."