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MEND your ways in the New Year

From January families in Southwark and Lambeth have an exciting opportunity to take part in the MEND Programme - an interactive 10-week programme for overweight children.

Tasting MEND-friendly foods

The programme teaches overweight children aged 7-12 basic principles about healthy eating and exercise that they can adopt for life. It does this in a fun, practical way that involves lots of games, swimming, discussions, cooking and even a supermarket tour. The programme also examines ways to improve children's behaviour, attitudes towards food and, especially, their self confidence.

Andrea, a mother who attended a recent MEND programme together with her daughter Khadijah, has this to say about the MEND programme: “I learned a lot about my child's personal needs as well as about the consequences of eating fatty, sugary and high GI foods. We are just altogether more health-oriented as a family now than we were before doing MEND. Also, by applying what we learned on the MEND programme, I was really able to help boost Khadijah's self confidence.” Michael, aged 10, adds: “I enjoyed the swimming most. It was really fun!” 12-year-old Mathew agrees: "I can honestly say that there wasn't any part of the programme I didn't enjoy.”

Although the programme is free to residents, each child will need to be assessed for suitability based on age, weight and health. Any family interested in taking part is encouraged to contact the MEND team as soon as possible on 020 7905 2806, as places are limited.

Appeal to local businesses

The Southwark programme is supported by Southwark PCT and the Lambeth programme at the Colombo Centre is backed by Jubilee Hall and Cartoon Network, but more support is needed. MEND is appealing to local businesses in SE1 to get involved in supporting future programmes in the area.
>Ulla Stauch, director at MEND, says: "We only have limited funding to cover 70 families at the moment. Yet obesity is a major epidemic in the UK at present, with huge financial, social and health cost implications. These affect everyone – not just the NHS, but also businesses as, for example, obesity-related sickness absence increases (e.g. bad backs, depression, joint problems and even heart diseases and diabetes). We urge companies who may be seeking worthwhile community-based projects to support as part of either their cause-related marketing initiatives or CSR programmes, to contact us to discuss working together, so that as many obese or overweight children and their families as possible can reap the benefits of the MEND Programme."

• Interested companies can contact Ulla at [email protected]">[email protected], or on 0870 609 1405.

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