The Department of Health and Social Care will shortly introduce training for health and social care practitioners in the HENRY programme to help tackle childhood obesity. The HENRY programme – Healthy, Exercise and Nutrition for the Really Young – will equip practitioners with knowledge and skills to lead a number of initiatives with parents and families.
In October 2014, training will be launched for health and social care practitioners, early-years workers, day-care and child-minders to support them to provide a healthy start for young children in their settings. The training is supported by the latest research into the complex factors that lead to, or protect against, obesity and brings together information about the important elements for a healthy start in life: nutrition and eating, lifestyle habits and physical activity, parenting skills and emotional wellbeing in the family.
Minister for Health and Social Care, Howard Quayle said: “A key aim of the Department’s Plan for Tackling Childhood Overweight and Obesity is to reduce the rate of obesity among pre-school and infant school children. Preventative initiatives such as this HENRY programme ensure that our children and young people have the opportunity to grow up with a healthy weight, through eating well and enjoying being active, reducing the risks associated with obesity related diseases.”
The programme begins at the time of pregnancy and focussing on the physical and emotional wellbeing of babies and children up to 5 years old and their families. Practitioners will be equipped to lead the programme’s 8 week course for parents of young children ‘Let’s get Healthy with Henry’, as well as one-to-one work with families.
Dawn Henley, Public Health Strategist said: “The HENRY programme works because of the holistic approach, recognising that emotional wellbeing and confident responsive parenting are just as important for a healthy lifestyle as nutrition and activity. Evidence shows that obesity is a contributory factor in a number of diseases; therefore rising obesity rates pose a serious public health challenge. Through the HENRY programme, health and social care practitioners can encourage healthy lifestyles from a very young age, helping to reduce the risk of serious long-term health and psychological problems, such as Type-2 Diabetes, coronary heart disease, depression and poor self-esteem.”