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Welsh Government launches £1.4m child obesity scheme

The Welsh Assembly Government has launched the UKs' first-ever weight management programme.

The £1.4m scheme aims to offer 2,000 overweight and obese children aged between seven and thirteen, and their families, the opportunity to lose weight and become better-educated about food, exercise and weight management.

Families will take part in the free 10 week group courses, combining practical skill-building, including shopping on a budget, healthy eating and physical exercise.

Rather than focusing on weight loss, the MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!) programme uses an interactive learning approach to teach parents, carers and children weight management skills.

The scheme was devised by experts in child health at the world-renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the University College London Institute of Child Health.

Launching the programme, Dr Tony Jewell, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said: ‘Being overweight can be tough for children both physically and emotionally. Caring for an overweight or obese child can be difficult too, especially if they lack confidence or feel depressed because of their size.

‘Overweight or obese children are also more likely to be overweight or obese adults. It's vital that we tackle the obesity issue. We have evidence that shows the MEND Programme raises individuals' self esteem and supports them in making healthier choices.'

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