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Families throughout NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are being encouraged to get smarter together about their health.
The ACES (Active Children Eating Smart) programme has been launched by NHSGGC in conjunction with local authority partners as a response to the increase of childhood obesity.
ACES takes place in the evenings or after school and in local schools, leisure centres and / or community venues and it aims to assist children and young people, in cooperation with their families, to either lose weight or not gain further weight.
Anne Gebbie-Diben, NHSGGC’s Health Improvement Lead, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Weight Management, said:
“ACES is designed so adults, children and young people can learn some ‘tricks of the trade’ about healthy eating and have fun doing physical activity together. Sessions take place with groups of children or young people of similar ages and parents or friends join in.
“Each session has been designed with practical solutions in mind to help families make realistic changes that suits their family, help them identify the ‘trigger points’ and what to do and how to best support their children become more active and eat more healthily. Some weeks involve practical food sessions but there will be games and activities every week – so remember your trainers!”
And for one 11-year-old ACES has proved to be life-changing. Conor Lynch is now a confident, sports playing, and healthy eating first year pupil at St Andrew’s High School in Easterhouse.
Mum Lee-Ann (35), said: “The programme has made Conor much more confident within himself, in fact his confidence has shot through the roof and he is a totally different boy!
“He has many more interests now, has joined a badminton group at the local sports centre, and we are doing more things together now such as going for walks.
“Conor will try sports he would never have thought about before, the programme has opened up a whole new world of interests.
“He really enjoys cooking, he’s a better cook than I am, and he makes healthy meals. He still enjoys a snack, but is very aware of the number and types of snacks he eats.”
And Conor’s new attitude to food and sport has helped Lee-Ann lose weight as well, “he puts me to shame because he is prepared to walk much further than I am!”
ACES coaches are experienced at working with children and young people and have undertaken over 70 hours of training. The coaches provide support and motivation for each family as well healthy eating advice such as how to make sense of food labelling or how healthy is a milk shake. They will also provide tips to reduce sedentary behaviours such as computer use and introducing new ideas for physical activity so each group can try something they haven’t tried before.
ACES incorporates changes into daily family life and participants set goals on a weekly basis, use lifestyle diaries to record progress and reap the awards but most importantly it’s about having fun together - whether that’s playing dodge ball or learning to cook pizza!
ACES is being widely promoted through GP practices, schools and children’s services but anyone who wants to take part can contact the service directly on freephone 0800 027 0291.
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.