Kids’ Zone project making a real difference…
A project designed to prevent childhood obesity in Oldham has, after just a year, already helped 64.6% of children on the scheme to stabilise their BMI and 25% to actually lower it.
The Kids’Zone project, run by Oldham Community Leisure (OCL) and funded by the Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group’s Dragons’Den project, launched in April 2014. It has already helped 93 children to become more involved in physical activity and lower their BMI.
Nearly one in five children aged 10-11 in Oldham are obese and, if the current trend continues, two thirds of children will be obese by 2050. Strikingly, the number of children who are of a healthy weight is 10% lower in Year 6 compared to Reception age children. The scheme specifically targets these pupils and invites every Reception and Year Six child who takes part in the National Child Measurement Scheme and has a BMI of ‘very overweight’ to join the OCL Kids’ Zone Exercise Referral Scheme. This entitles them to a free or discounted junior membership for six months and access to a selection of activity courses and sessions including swimming, trampolining, diving, gymnastics, badminton, climbing and football.
Julie Hilditch, Health and Physical Activity Development Officer (Dragon’s Den) at OCL, says: “All children on the scheme are encouraged to choose their favourite activity on the course, which helps to inspire their participation and therefore increase their activity levels and improve their BMI. Because the Kids’ Zone sessions are integrated into normal lessons, children on the scheme don’t feel singled out in any way. No one needs to know why they’re attending and this helps them to feel part of the group, join in and get the most from whatever sessions they’re participating in. It’s this inclusiveness that makes them feel comfortable and happy to participate.
“Because the scheme is family oriented, we’ve also noticed it also has a knock-on effect on other members of the child’s family. The scheme has greatly increased the families’ uptake of the OCL Active card and parents have told us we’ve helped to change their shopping habits and get them, their child and siblings eating more healthily and all exercising together. We couldn’t ask for more.”
On the recommendation of the Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, OCL has plans to make the scheme available to children who are ‘overweight’, not just those who are ‘very overweight’, in the coming months.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
About Oldham Community Leisure
Oldham Community Leisure (OCL) is a community benefit society responsible for the management, operation and development of 14 sports centres, swimming pools and synthetic pitches in Oldham.
OCL’s vision is to create an environment in which sport, active recreation and leisure are integrated into thelifestyle of all Oldham citizens, in order that community cohesion and health benefits are continually improving.