Saturday, 15 January 2011

Change4Life



Many of you will have heard of the UK government's Change4Life campaign to get our children healthier following concerns that the younger generation is fatter and less fit than it should be. I know that my children need to do better when it comes to a healthier lifestyle and it's up to me as their mum to point them in the right direction. So I signed up on the web site and filled out a questionnaire which resulted in an action plan arriving through my door yesterday. I have also signed up as a volunteer to help promote the campaign so we can all keep out children healthy and help them live longer more active lives.


The key 8 good habits we need to encourage are children into are:

  1. meal time: try and make time for 3 regular meals a day
  2. me size meals: remember kids and grown ups don't need the same amount of food
  3. cut back fat: keep fatty foods like burgers and sausages to a minimum
  4. sugar swaps: swap food and drink that is high in sugar to no added sugar versions
  5. snack check: limit unhealthy snacks
  6. up and about: active play is much better for kids than vegging in front of TV
  7. 60 active minutes: kids need at least 60 active minutes a day
  8. 5 A DAY: make sure they get a variety of at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day - fresh frozen, canned, dried or juiced

My kids are doing well at some of these but our action plan is concentrating on 6 and 8. We have been set 4 things to do to get the kids up and about more:

  • limit TV/computer time to 2 hours max. 
  • have an activity day this weekend as chosen by kids
  • buy something to get the kids actively playing
  • over the month change some journeys to use our own steam

The time limit on TV has been a bit problematical with one child off sick from school! I am  cutting back on the time but need fully healthy kids to complete the process. I do encourage my kids to use the fitness games we have on the Wii when we are stuck at home. They both love the Family Fitness Trainer and my son was really pleased to get lots of high scores on the Timber Trail. My daughter has just signed up for 10 weeks of gymnastics and my son plays football once a week. So they are increasing their activity levels but I need to make sure its 60 minutes a day even on a typical wet Cumbrian winter's day! As part of my own fitness drive I am adding a workout into every day so hopefully this will rub off on them...


The other challenge is to get them eating 5 a day:

  • put the 5 a day wallchart up so they can track their portions
  • give them bite size pieces of fruit
  • stock up on frozen and canned fruit
  • let kids choose fruit and veg for the week's shopping

Well the chart went up on the fridge this morning and the kids seemed enthusiastic about competing with each other to be first to 5. Let us see how long that lasts! My son only ever eats bite size pieces of fruit any way - a pain when it comes to nursery lunch boxes but if it works then I'll do it. I need to find canned/frozen fruit that my son will eat as currently he only eats apples and bananas. My daughter fluctuates as to which fruit she eats so I never know what she will accept but at least she does like a variety. As part of their menu plan for the week they did include vegetables specifically in some meals - mostly peas but also broccoli. When we did the weekly shop they helped to choose various fruits and vegetables and I elicited a promise from the 4 year old to eat 5 slices of carrot at meals that had peas included... we will see...

Do you think you and your children are getting all 8 habits right? Go over to www.nhs.uk/change4life and fill out the questionnaire and see how well you are doing! I will keep sharing the tips we have been given and show my children's progress. I may well throw up a challenge or two to get us all fitter and healthier as families.

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