A new programme designed to tackle childhood obesity in Wolverhampton has been officially unveiled.

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Wolverhampton City Council's Public Health team has received £200,000 from the British Heart Foundation to launch Hearty Lives Wolverhampton, an innovative 3 year scheme to support around 380 of Wolverhampton's most vulnerable families.

Hearty Lives will target parents with a child who is subject to either a Child in Need or Child Protection Plan and also has weight management issues after it was found that children on the child protection register generally have worse health than the wider population.

Key workers will offer practical support over a 6 week period to enable families to lead healthier lifestyles, educating them about the importance of healthy eating and exercise and giving them opportunities to improve their diet and exercise.

The advisers will provide hands on education to children and parents about cooking healthy meals, trying new foods and eating well on a budget and support them to take part in physical activities. Social care staff will also give out healthy lifestyle messages which families can work towards in the future.

Hearty Lives was officially introduced to social care professionals who work with troubled families at the Improving Health and Reducing Inequalities Conference at Wolverhampton Science Park last week.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "We think the Healthy Lives programme will make a significant difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the city by making families aware of the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity.

"In turn, this will reduce the risk of cardio vascular disease among children and their parents.

"The programme was well received at the conference, and social care professionals who work with troubled families were confident that it would make a positive contribution to the health of our young people."

Key workers are currently being recruited and the first families will receive help and support through the Healthy Lives programme this autumn.

British Heart Foundation Chief Executive Simon Gillespie said: "Through our Hearty Lives projects we are committed to working with local communities to give young people most at risk of heart disease a healthier start in life. By ensuring children develop healthy habits now, we can give them a fighting chance of avoiding serious ill health in the future."

  • released: Tuesday 10 September, 2013