Participants enrolled in the Go4Fun program across the Western NSW Local Health District in the first school term have achieved some significant results.
Go4Fun coordinates the MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It!) educational program for eligible families of children between 7 and 13 years old.
Western NSW LHD Go4Fun Project Coordinator Jennifer Hunt says mmost families are healthier, happier and fitter when they finish the ten-week MEND program.
“We have outstanding results from one local child who participated in Term 1 and the physical and behavioural changes they made after ten weeks of participating in the program. This nine year old boy reduced his Body Mass Index (BMI) by 1.1 units and has increased his physical activity by three hours each week, and as a by-product has greatly increased his fitness level,” said Mrs Hunt.
The first session of the Go4Fun program is a Healthy Growth Check where the physical status of the child is established and nutritional and activity behaviours are identified. This provides the basis for measuring the changes made by the child after the ten week program.
“The boy began this program with a BMI of 25.4 and he is now sitting at 24.3. His heart rate at the first session was 82 beats per minute and it is now 62 beats per minute – a 20 beats per minute reduction which is a significant improvement!” said Mrs Hunt.
It is normal for children to increase their BMI as they grow older. Therefore, maintaining or reducing BMI are both considered successful.
The boy has increased his physical activity levels to a total of 11 hours per week, by setting initial goals of walking to school two days per week and riding his bike. The amount of sedentary activities has decreased, with the boy spending just six hours per week watching TV or on the computer, down from 30 hours per week in the initial Go4Fun session.
The last factor to contribute to this boy’s great results is an increased nutrition score of 24 out of 28, up from 17 out of 28 at the first session. This score is attained by parents completing a nutrition survey which identifies what types of food the children consume.
The boy’s mother is really excited about her family’s new lifestyle and reported:
“The most significant change I have observed is the increase in physical activity. My son is excited and prefers to play outside now. He is less emotional and dealing with his anxieties in a more rational manner.” His moods are less ‘spikey’ and she thinks this is because he is eating much less sugar and sugary snacks. “He doesn’t show interest in having those snacks anymore. When we shop he is reading the food labels, understanding how unhealthy some of his previous choices were and makes more healthy choices. I can see a definite improvement in his self-confidence as well,” his mother stated to Mrs Hunt.
Go4Fun Project Officer Chad Parkes said: “The program gives parents a chance to identify the physical status of their child and understand the importance of making changes as soon as possible. The signs they see at home are significant indicators that their children can continue to develop into healthier kids for the long term and motivates parents to support them. It is really gratifying to hear the stories different families want to share.”
Interest for programs has been expressed for Term 3 in Forbes/Parkes, Bourke, Coonabarabran, , Lightning Ridge, Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst.
Programs can be run for existing groups or you can register individually.
For information and registration: Freecall 1800 780 900.
Western NSW LHD Project Officer – Chad Parkes - 0408 603 457
Western NSWLHD Project Officer Leanne Frost - 0408 410 133
Western NSW & Far West Coordinator Jennifer Hunt – 0427 422 092