TACKLING obesity in teenagers and young adults, to reverse an increasingly alarming trend, is at the heart of a Swindon health pilot project due to be rolled out.
Swindon Council’s health team promoted the new #gethealthy programme at New College as part of Healthy Weight Awareness Week, which encourages people to adopt a healthier diet and transform their lifestyle one step at a time.
The initiative – being launched on January 30 – aims to plug a gap in provision for obese or overweight young people, aged 16 to 25, and forms part of the wider Triactive project, which started last August and will receive £250,000 over three years from Sport England.
The 10-week inaugural course will be held at New College. Each session will be split into two 45 minute-sessions: a workshop discussing a health topic, followed by a workout.
Triactive project coordinator Ben Humphrey said: “We have the MEND programme, which is for five to 16-year-olds, and Dietbusters for people over 16, but most people using it are 40 or 50. Young people can’t relate to them and feel the course is not for them.
“It follows the same syllabus as Dietbusters, but has been tweaked for that age group. So we will also talk to them about drinking fizzy drinks and getting enough sleep or reading food labels. We will discuss fats and sugars and healthy substitutes.”
If it proves a success, the course will be rolled out across town.
According to the latest figures released by Public Health England, 10.2 per cent of reception pupils in Swindon are obese, compared with 9.3 per cent nationally. By Year 6 – the end of primary school – the figure rises to 19.5 per cent against 18.9 nationally.
Ben said: “In Swindon, stats reflect the national trend, which is that obesity is on the increase. “The emphasis is often on being active, but that’s half of the battle. People have to look at their diet and what they put in their bodies.”
Sam Rose, 17, a student at New College, said the school was the ideal place to promote a health programme for young people.
“It’s a good idea and it can inspire people to think before drinking a fizzy drink or having a snack. Many people don’t think about what they eat or drink.”
The course costs £25 and participants get a £10 gift voucher upon its completion.
For details about #gethealthy, call Debbie Mitchell on 01793 864934 or email DMitchell2 @swindon.gov.uk.
To find out about Triactive, call Ben on 01793 465404 or email BHumphrey@swindon.gov.uk.