Reading Health Programme Extended

17 October 2012, 06:00

More than 7 in 10 children in Reading reached their healthy weight after taking part in a NHS pilot programme to improve their fitness.

'Let's Get Going', was trialled by 7-12-year-olds at Geoffrey Field School and Whitley Park Junior School.

More than 20 pupils took part in the 8-week programme where sessions were held after school, with parents sitting in on the last 20 minutes.

The children reported that they had increased their activity levels by an hour a day and watched 3 hours less TV during term weeks.

Two-thirds of children improved their fitness levels, which was shown by a reduction in their resting heart rates.

They also ate more healthy food after learning to read product labels and having some cooking lessons.

The programme, which aims to encourage a healthy lifestyle, could now be rolled out to other schools in west Berkshire.

It also hopes to prevent obese children from developing weight-related illnesses like diabetes, stroke and cancer.

NHS stats show 17 percent of Year 6 children in Berkshire are obese, and 15 percent are overweight.

Director of Public Health for NHS Berkshire West Dr Janet Maxwell said “Our aim is to support people living in Berkshire west to have the knowledge, skills, opportunities and services to manage their weight, and the weight of their family, so that together we reverse the rising trend of obesity.

"I am glad ‘Let’s Get Going’ has brought us one step closer to achieving that vision. We want to roll out this programme to other schools so that more children can benefit from it."