Children are consuming around 400 biscuits and more than 120 cakes, buns and pastries each year, according to latest research from Public Health England (PHE).
For this reason, a new Change4Life campaign has been launched by PHE to help encourage parents find snacks of 100 calories or less for their children.
Figures from the National Child Measurement Programme revealed in 2017 that Poole has the highest number of obese 10-11-year olds in the whole of Dorset.
Annie Hargreaves, says that her and the team at Active Dorset have been working hard ever since these figures were revealed to encourage kids to be more active and eat healthier.
“We are currently working in partnership with Public Health Dorset and other local partners to try and help address issued raised,” she says.
She explains that working alongside schools is a vital part of their plan, so raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity as well healthy eating is their main aim.
“Due to their concerns, the government is enabling schools to help themselves. They’re investing vast amounts of funding into raising awareness around healthy lifestyles, but they’re also doubling the amount of funding they give to primary schools,” Annie says.
She says that schools in Dorset are also being trained to implement the Change4Life activities, such as encouraging the 100 calories or less campaign and running sports clubs for children who are at particular risk of poor health.
School games organiser for Poole, Sam Cox, says he and other organisers work closely with nurses so they can ensure children are being taught about living a healthy lifestyle.
“In particular now when a nurse goes into schools, they will often ask if there is a change for life club, as it is a way to target obesity in schools, if a club is running,” he says.
But he also explains the importance of the 100 calories or less campaign launched by PHE, in that it targets parents to encourage their children to maintain the healthy lifestyle that’s implemented at school.
“My general feel, from feedback from teachers is that they feel like they’re doing a lot of work to make students aware of what a healthy lifestyle is, this is how to follow it and giving them options to do so, and where it tends to fall down is if there is not enough or no parental engagement at home to reinforce and support that,” he says.
Listen to more of Sam’s advice below for parent’s who aren’t really sure where to start with re-engaging their children in sport and living a healthy lifestyle.
As January is generally considered a month of healthy living, groups in the Dorset area have been providing a large range of activities for locals to involve themselves in.
For example, a campaign by Dorset Mind, Run Every Day, challenges people to run each day in January as a way to help themselves feel better physically as well as mentally.
But, although a huge effort has been made to inspire a health kick, organisations will have to wait until February to see whether changes will be another broken New Years resolution or whether it will be the start of a county wide lifestyle change for Dorset.