NHS Manchester and Manchester council are rolling out an innovative scheme which offers families of overweight children lessons on how to eat healthily. The supermarket teaching programme is being offered by MEND, a social enterprise organisatio, to encourage children and families to replace unhealthy convenience foods with fresher, home cooked options.
The MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition … Do it!) Programme offers one to one advice on how to recognise a healthy weight, taking part in nutrition workshops, learning what to read on food labels and how to put a balanced diet together.
Obesity and children is a growing problem in the UK, with research indicating that the weight of children at an early age is a key determinant towards their later weight and health. The risk of type 2 diabetes is greatly increased as a result of childhood or adolescent obesity.
The programmen, originally devised between the Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London, usually costs £400 per family, but under the Manchester schemen, families who qualify will be offered the course for free. The cost of the lessons may sound like a high price to pay but obesity is estimated to cost the NHS £2 billion a year and the overall effect of obesity on the UK economy is thought to be around £7 billion.

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