Page last updated at 06:41 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Welsh families offered action plans to reduce obesity

Department of Health advert
Television adverts devised by Aardman Animations are being screened

Families in Wales are to be offered tailored action plans on how to eat healthily and do more exercise to fight rising levels of obesity.

The Change4Life programme will be rolled out through advertising in the media and the community.

It gives parents the chance to fill in questionnaires about eating and activity habits. They will then receive regular advice on healthier lifestyles.

The Change4Life scheme launched in England last year.

A spokesman for the Welsh Assembly Government said the Department of Health in Westminster had spent £75m over three years on the Change4Life project.

"We have been able to benefit from their work to bring this campaign to the people of Wales," he said.

He added the assembly government was spending £280,000 in 2010-2011 on rolling out the programme.

Figures from the chief medical officer's report in December 2008 showed 21% of people in Wales are classed as obese, rising to 28% in the most deprived parts of the country.

Mr Jones will launch the programme at a fitness class in a Cardiff park aimed at parents with babies in pushchairs.

He said: "Simple changes to our lifestyle can improve our health, help us to live longer and set a good example to our children.

Obese boy
Wales has some of the most obese and overweight children in Europe

"The Welsh Assembly Government is launching this campaign to provide practical advice and support to families across Wales about how they can make choices that will have a positive impact on the health of their children.

"We also want any organisations that deal with families to sign up and promote Change4Life so that families hear simple and consistent advice about healthy eating and physical activity.

"We want to kick-start a lifestyle revolution and create a healthier, happier Wales."

Wales' Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Jewell said families would have to complete a simple questionnaire giving details of their eating and physical activity habits.

"Parents will then receive a free personalised action plans full of ideas, tips and advice on how to get them and their children doing more physical activity and eating more healthily," he said.

"Once a family has signed up for their unique plan they will be sent more information and advice on a regular basis to help them keep up this healthier lifestyle."

The assembly government is hoping organisations which have contact with families will sign up to become supporters of the campaign, enabling them to access materials they can use in their work.

Questionnaires are being distributed to primary school children over the next few weeks, or they are available by calling 0800 100 900 or visiting the Change4Life website.

Sports Council for Wales chair Laura McAllister said the programme helped support their aim of getting every child in Wales "hooked on sport for life".

"Through our Welsh Assembly Government funded 5x60 scheme, many more young people are already taking up new sports and activities, which contributes greatly towards their recommended intake of 60 minutes of physical activity five times a week."

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